Cholesterol Drugs: December 2006 Archives

niaspanPfizer Inc.'s new experimental heart drug is dead, but the dual approach the company was testing -- boosting good cholesterol while lowering the bad -- is very much alive, specialists said Monday.

A drug already on the market, Niaspan, raises good cholesterol without serious risks, and a large federal study is testing it with statin medications -- the very thing Pfizer was trying to do before being forced to abandon research on its drug, torcetrapib, over the weekend because of safety problems.

For consumers, the main fallout may be a delay in getting a new medicine that avoids Niaspan's chief side effect, a hot prickly sensation called flushing that patients hate but that can be minimized, doctors said.

pfizerPfizer Inc. said Saturday it has cut off all clinical trials and development for a cholesterol drug that was supposed to be the star of its pipeline because of an unexpected number of deaths and cardiovascular problems in patients who used it.

The world's largest drugmaker said it was told Saturday that an independent board monitoring a study for torcetrapib, a drug that raises levels of HDL, or what's commonly known as good cholesterol, recommended that the work end because of "an imbalance of mortality and cardiovascular events."

The news is devastating to Pfizer, which had been counting on the drug to revitalize stagnant sales that have been hurt by numerous patent expirations on key products. It has said it was spending around $800 million to develop Torcetrapib.

Two plead guilty in case over imported Lipitor

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lipitorTwo pharmaceutical drug distributors pleaded guilty Thursday to taking part in a $42 million conspiracy to illegally import and sell the cholesterol reduction drug Lipitor and other medicines.

Richard K. Rounsborg, 48, of Kearney, Neb., and Albert David Nassar, 51, of New York, each pleaded guilty to conspiracy.

U.S. Attorney Bradley Schlozman said they bought Lipitor intended for distribution in South America, then illegally imported it into the U.S. to sell at a lower cost than Lipitor made for the U.S.

The Lipitor bought and sold by the conspirators was not manufactured by Pfizer, which makes Lipitor for distribution in the U.S.

source - STL Today