KENILWORTH, N.J. (AP) — Schering-Plough Corp. posted a fourth-quarter profit that topped estimates as lingering buyout charges for Organon Biosciences NV decreased, but revenue suffered from a stronger U.S. dollar and lagging cholesterol drug sales. The company continues to record quarterly charges for its November 2007 buyout of Organon, but they are substantially less compared to a year earlier. Meanwhile, the benefit from Organon product sales continues driving revenue. Schering-Plough earned $480 million, or 27 cents per share, compared with a loss of $3.36 billion, or $2.08 per share, a year earlier because of hefty buyout charges. Schering says revenue rose 17 percent to $4.35 billion, the increase resulting from added Organon products. Specifically, those products added $1.3 billion to the overall results. Excluding mostly acquisition charges and costs for canceling a drug development program with Merck, the company said it earned 39 cents per share. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expected profit of 30 cents per share on revenue of $4.51 billion. While its adjusted profit topped forecasts, sales of the company’s cholesterol drugs Vytorin and Zetia, which it sells with Merck, fell 26 percent to $1.1 billion. The joint venture, which doesn’t count toward Schering-Plough’s sales figure, represents about half of its profit. Vytorin has been losing ground in the market for the past year as reports questioned their effectiveness and safety. Meanwhile, a stronger U.S. dollar has been cutting into overseas revenue. For the full year, the company earned $1.65 billion, or $1.01 per share, compared with a loss of $1.59 billion, or $1.04 per share, in 2007. Sales rose 46 percent to $18.5 billion from $12.69 billion. Chairman and Chief Executive Fred Hassan, in a conference call with analysts, said the company’s cost-cutting and addition of Organon were key to the results in 2008, despite a lagging economy and changing drug industry. “In the face of all these challenges, our people delivered,” he said. The company’s top sellers during the fourth quarter included the biotechnology-based arthritis drug Remicade, with sales rising 8 percent to $491 million. Sales of the allergy drug Nasonex rose 3 percent to $281 million, while sales of the brain tumor treatment Temodar rose 4 percent to $242 million. Overall, prescription drugs made up the bulk of revenue, rising 17 percent to $3.46 billion, while animal health product sales rose 33 percent to $674 million and consumer health products fell 14 percent to $219 million. Looking ahead, the company is in the midst of a restructuring program, launched in April, that aims to cut 20 percent of its sales staff and 10 percent of its overall workforce. Schering-Plough has been focusing on its late-stage pipeline of products and expects to ask for approval of five new drugs this year. It also has the benefit of some market security and does not face the key losses to generic competition like most of its competitors.”At a time when many others in the industry are facing pipeline droughts and patent cliffs, we believe we’re in the sweet spot on product flow and expected exclusivity,” Hassan said in a statement Tuesday morning.