A recent article reported on the results of a trial of the cholesterol-lowering drug Zytorin, which is a combination of Zocor and Zeita – made by Merck and Schering-Plough.
Zocor and Zeita lower cholesterol by different mechanisms, so the idea was that combining them into a single drug (Vytorin) would dramatically lower cholesterol and, they assumed, reduce heart disease.
They got the first part right. Vytorin did indeed lead to dramatic reductions in cholesterol levels in those who took the drug. However, it also increased the risk of heart disease – exactly the opposite result they were hoping for.
The worst part about this is that Merck & Schering-Plough sat on this data for almost two years, while over five million people around the world continued to take a drug that was proven to nearly double the risk of heart disease. Congress has launched a full-scale investigation and the NY Times is publicly demanding a new law to prevent this from happening again.
Yesterday another article was published in the Times with an update on the investigation, including emails sent by the lead investigator on the Vytorin trial indicating that Merck & Schering-Plough were deliberately delaying publication of the results of this trial.
Yet another case of gross malfeasance by the pharmaceutical industry. Consumers beware.
- Accusations of Delays in Releasing Drug Results
- Doubt Cast on Two Drugs Used to Lower Cholesterol
- Editorial: Overpromoted Cholesterol Drugs