(CBS/AP) Drug-maker AstraZeneca gambled on a study that pitted its cholesterol-lowering drug Crestor Pfizer's Lipitor. The gamble didn't pay off - Crestor proved no better at preventing arterial plaques than Lipitor.The two-year study - scheduled to be presented November 15 at an American Heart Association conference in Orlando Fla. - looked at 1,300 high-risk heart patients to see which drug was superior. Crestor was more effective at reducing coronary artery plaques - but the results were not statistically significant. That means they could have occurred by chance. The news sent AstraZeneca stocks tumbling with some financial analysts likening the study to the drug-maker shooting itself in the foot. But what do the results mean for patients on both these drugs? "It really means nothing," Dr. Howard S. Weintraub, clinical director of NYU's Center for the Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease, told CBS News. "These are two excellent drugs." People expected Crestor to blow away … [Read more...] about CBS News Logo Crestor compared to Lipitor in heart study: Which one won?
Last Updated Oct 9, 2008 11:54 AM EDT Teva, the generic maker, is suing AstraZeneca, the holder of the original Crestor patent, claiming that AZ is somehow infringing on rights Teva acquired to the drug back in March 2007. The Crestor patent isn't supposed to expire until 2016 -- well beyond the industry's looming patent cliff, which is why certain analysts think AZ is at least a hold right now. (Generic entrants into a branded market tend to destroy the original brand. Lipitor, which has not expired yet, is already in decline due to generic competition from dissimilar drugs.) But Teva won a battle over Crestor patent rights last year. AZ retaliated by suing Teva in July this year to stop them making a Crestor generic (and thus destroying AZ's $2.8 billion-in-revenue franchise on the anti-cholesterol drug). Now teva is back, claiming AZ is full of hot air. This old Reuters story has some good background. The challenge was expected by analysts earlier this summer. The main U.S. patent … [Read more...] about Teva Sues AstraZeneca Over Crestor: $2.8 Billion on the Line
Last Updated Nov 10, 2008 7:47 PM EST Highly encouraging results on AZ's Crestor -- AstraZeneca announced the results of its much-discussed Jupiter study at the annual meeting of the American Heart Association. Crestor reduced by 44% the risk of cardiovascular death and heart attacks in at-risk individuals, among other encouraging results. The news could be big for Crestor sales, though CEO David Brennan said it was still too early to predict the effect. At Pharmalot, Ed chatted with a cardiologist and got some insights into the study's significance. Source: PharmaTimes, CNN, Pharmalot] UK drug regulators echo Chantix suicide concerns -- The Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency described 10 suicide victims who were taking Champix, the drug's European equivalent, at the time they died. The agency cautioned that the link was not certain, and that other factors may have been at work. Nevertheless, it isn't good news for Pfizer, considering the drug's track record. [Source: … [Read more...] about Pharma Roundup: AstraZeneca’s Crestor Success, Pfizer’s Chantix Problems, and More
Statins were hailed as miracle drugs when they were introduced in 1987. Heart disease was the leading cause of death in the U.S., and the American College of Cardiology says that statin therapy, which lowers cholesterol levels, reduces the risk of heart attack and stroke in patients who have or are at risk for atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD). Currently, about 25 percent of adults 45 years of age and older take statins, according to the National Center for Health Statistics, and the percentage of Americans with high cholesterol levels has declined, which is attributed to the use of cholesterol-lowering medications. But heart disease is still the No.1 cause of death in America. Critics of statins say that studies showing that reductions in cholesterol reduce cardiovascular disease are framed in the best possible light. An editorial in The BMJ gives the example: Experts say that for every 1 percent drop in cholesterol, there will be a 2 percent reduction in … [Read more...] about Statins: Pros and Cons
For many people who survive a heart attack, a long road to recovery is before them, as well as the need to change their lifestyle. “A heart attack is really a cold glass of water in the face for most individuals. It can really depress them. Most people should be able to look at it as an opportunity to reassess,” says Dr. Gervasio A. Lamas, chairman of medicine and chief of Columbia University’s division of cardiology at Mount Sinai Medical Center in Miami Beach. Fortunately, there are many steps to be taken and plenty of support available to facilitate a full recovery and vastly reduce the risk of a second heart attack — and possible death. Self-Assessment The first thing anyone should do after a heart attack is step back and conduct a self-assessment, Lamas says. What you’re essentially asking is this: How can I lower my cardiovascular risk? Priorities include quitting smoking, losing weight, working to become fit, decreasing stress and establishing a … [Read more...] about You survived a heart attack. What do you do now?