Wednesday, January 23, 2008

The great Vytorin saga ... simplified

The mad scramble to explain the results of the recent Vytorin/Zetia study has started. In essence, the study, known as ENHANCE, was a failure, in spite of the fact that the drug massively lowered LDL cholesterol. In Forbes today, Matthew Herper tries to explain this mess. But it isn't really a mess. It's all so simple. High cholesterol, or LDL, does not, I repeat NOT, cause heart disease. So, lowering LDL doesn't do anything to fix the problem. Why isn't anyone just coming out and saying this? Hmm. Hard to say.

Dr. Steven Nissen, with the powerful Cleveland Clinic has all but done so. But the rest of the cardiological world, not to mention the drug companies, are instead bending themselves into various pretzel shapes in an attempt to explain the results away. There must still be a danger there, and surely we've got to ensure that people keep meeting their "cholesterol goals" at all costs, they are saying.

But in the end, Herper's article sums up where the real peril lies.

Summarizing a Wall Street analyst's notes, he writes, "it is the growth of the cholesterol franchise that is in danger."

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