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Vytorin: Big Blow for Big Pharma

Posted By Mark Sisson On January 16, 2008 @ 3:00 pm In Big Pharma,Health,Marketing,Sisson Said What? | 7 Comments

Well, folks, Big Pharma has done it again. This one really takes the cake.

When Merck and Schering-Plough revealed Monday that the active ingredient in their top-selling cholesterol meds Zetia and Vytorin had flunked a clinical trial measuring its effect on artery plaque, they opened themselves up to a barrage of attacks.

This drug doesn’t work. Period. It just doesn’t work,’ said Steven Nissen, head of cardiology at the Cleveland Clinic. U.S. Rep. Bart Stupak, a Michigan Democrat helping to lead a congressional investigation of the study, said, ‘It is easy to conclude that Merck and Schering-Plough intentionally sought to delay the release of this data.

via Forbes [7]

The results of the study were finalized in April of 2006, but only released this week. These criminals corporations had a year and a half “grace period” to extract more money from the public before the results were published, and then only with pressure from Congress.

Zetia and Vytorin rake in $5 billion a year for the Merck and Schering. As Forbes goes on to report, pharmacy plans have recently favored the now generic and cheaper (less than $1 a pill) statin medication Zocor. With this drop in proceeds, it certainly was strategic timing for Big Pharma to team up and start pushing their Vytorin concoction at $3 a day.

The fact is, dietary intake of cholesterol is one small piece of cholesterol’s physiological puzzle. The body, on average, produces 1400 milligrams of its own cholesterol every day. Cholesterol is vital for the body’s healthy functioning. Sound and reliable medical research hasn’t proven that lowering cholesterol in and of itself – particularly in isolation of inflammation (which is the number one factor in heart disease) – reduces risk of death from heart disease across a population.

Nonetheless, the medical community continues to blindly insist that cholesterol-lowering medications are the best tools in our heart disease fighting arsenal. (Heaven forbid they make a real commitment to the power of nutrition and fitness.) Some doctors, in fact, have publicly said we should all be taking them as a “precautionary measure”! I’m dumbfounded at the level of irrationality behind this devotion (not to mention this outrageous recommendation), all despite the myriad of side effects, including liver problems, disabling muscle pain and weakness, cognitive dysfunction, cancer and heart disease. (Yes, you read that correctly.)

With Congress’ promise to follow up on this matter, we’ll hopefully get to hear more in the coming weeks and months. In the meantime, what’s your take on all this? Give us and the forum folks your thoughts.

pvera [8] Flickr Photo (CC)

Further Reading:

Shellfish and Cholesterol [9]

Rethinking Cholesterol [10]

8 Foods to Lower LDL and Boost HDL Cholesterol [11]

PharmaLot: AHA Counteroffensive – Vytorin isn’t “Unsafe” [12]

PharmaGossip: Merck and Schering-Plough have their heads up their… [13]

Subscribe to Mark’s Daily Apple feeds [14]


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[7] Forbes: http://www.forbes.com/home/healthcare/2008/01/14/enhance-merck-schering-biz-healthcare-cx_mh_0115bizenhance.html

[8] pvera: http://www.flickr.com/photos/pvera/103796965/

[9] Shellfish and Cholesterol: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/shellfish/

[10] Rethinking Cholesterol: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/diabetes-and-cholesterol/

[11] 8 Foods to Lower LDL and Boost HDL Cholesterol: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/cholesterol-fighting-foods/

[12] PharmaLot: AHA Counteroffensive – Vytorin isn’t “Unsafe”: http://www.pharmalot.com/2008/01/american-heart-association-vytorin-isnt-unsafe/

[13] PharmaGossip: Merck and Schering-Plough have their heads up their…: http://pharmagossip.blogspot.com/2008/01/son-of-whytorin-is-still-alive.html

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