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Health Care: Rx, Is it Revenue Driven?

Editor’s note: As we learn more and test more — we provide better answers. However, are we rushing products and service to market to drive revenue before these things are adequately tested?


Merck, Abbott Cholesterol-Combo Pills Lack Evidence (Update1)


By Shannon Pettypiece

Aug. 31 (Bloomberg) — High doses of cholesterol-lowering pills called statins may work just as well as medicines sold by Merck & Co. and Abbott Laboratories that combine different types of cholesterol drugs.

In an analysis of 102 studies, researchers found no proof that combining cholesterol medications extended life expectancy more than taking a high dose of a single statin, such as Pfizer Inc.’s Lipitor, according to a study released today by the Annals of Internal Medicine. Few of those studies were long enough to be able to detect a benefit, researchers said.

Cholesterol-lowering drugs are the world’s second-most widely prescribed medicines, with $33 billion in sales last year. The findings should encourage doctors to avoid prescribing a combination of cholesterol treatments and instead stick to statins, which have been proven to show a long-term benefit, said Mukul Sharma, a neurologist at the University of Ottawa and the study’s lead author. Drugmakers should do larger, long-term studies of combination pills to prove their worth, he said.

“There is a dearth of evidence,” Sharma said in a telephone interview. “Any time you combine medicines you increased the expense and you increase the possibility for side effects.”

The study was funded by the U.S. government’s Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.


September 1, 2009 - Posted by | healthcare | , , , ,

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