Tags: Heart Disease | High Cholesterol | Obesity | liptruzet | heart | profits | merck

Top Doc: New Heart Drug All About Corporate Profits

Tuesday, 07 May 2013 09:25 AM

By Charlotte Libov

Amid a hail of publicity, pharmaceutical giant Merck received FDA approval last week for a new cholesterol-lowering drug. But a top cardiologist says he won’t be recommending it to his patients.
Liptruzet appears to be all about generating profits for Merck, but it doesn’t seem to add much to the arsenal of weapons in the fight against heart disease, says Chauncey Crandall, M.D.
“This is another smokescreen for the drug companies to make money for duplicating another drug,” says Dr. Crandall, head of preventive medicine and cardiology services at the world-renowned Palm Beach Cardiovascular Clinic.
Liptruzet doesn’t have any new ingredients. It is a combination of Merck’s existing medication, Zetia, combined with a generic version of Lipitor, the best-selling statin from Pfizer that is no longer patent protected. Liptruzet is expected to become available later this year.
“Lipitor went off patent so the drug companies are trying to cash in,” said Dr. Crandall. “This drug does lower cholesterol, but not by a mechanism that reduces risk of heart disease.
“Too often drugs are approved that benefit the drug companies, and not the patients.”
Research on the combination drug did show that it reduces LDL-cholesterol, the so-called “bad” cholesterol, but the new drug has not been shown to actually lower heart disease or stroke. Liptruzet will be patent-protected, which means Merck will be able to charge more for it than a generic drug.
The new formula comes at a time when Merck has been fighting low sales for its other cholesterol medications. Sales for Zetia and Vytorin (a combination of Zetia and the statin drug Zocor) have not recovered since falling in 2008. That’s when a major study found that they did not stem the progression of heart disease in people with familial hyperlipidemia, an inherited condition in which the body manufactures too much cholesterol.
The FDA’s approval last week of Liptruzet came as a surprise because experts expected regulators to wait until a major clinical trial assessing Vytorin, another combo cholesterol drug, is concluded at the end of 2014. However, an FDA spokeswoman said the Liptruzet was approved because it is effective in lowering LDL-cholesterol, which is a known heart disease risk factor.
“I prescribed Zetia early on until the studies showed that it was not an effective medication to lower heart disease, and then I switched. So I have no intention of recommending this new combination drug, and I doubt many of my colleagues will either,” Dr. Crandall said.


© 2015 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Around the Web
Join the Newsmax Community
Please review Community Guidelines before posting a comment.
>> Register to share your comments with the community.
>> Login if you are already a member.
blog comments powered by Disqus
Zip Code:
Privacy: We never share your email.
Hot Topics
Follow Newsmax
Like us
on Facebook
Follow us
on Twitter
Add us
on Google Plus
Around the Web
Top Stories
You May Also Like

Lynch Pledges Independence If Confirmed as Attorney General

Wednesday, 28 Jan 2015 10:56 AM

Under pressure from Republicans, Loretta Lynch promised a fresh relationship with law enforcement and with Congress on W . . .

Koch Brothers Budget $889 Million for 2016

Monday, 26 Jan 2015 16:27 PM

Freedom Partners, the political operation run by the Koch brothers, has budgeted $889 million for its political activiti . . .

Steve Forbes to Newsmax TV: Scott Walker Made 'Huge' Iowa Impact

Monday, 26 Jan 2015 15:04 PM

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker emerged from a political pageant in Iowa over the weekend looking like a contender for the p . . .

Most Commented

Newsmax, Moneynews, Newsmax Health, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, and Newsmax World are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

America's News Page
©  Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved