Today I had my first group appointment led by my new endocrinologist (a.k.a. my favorite endocrinologist) at the Palo Alto Medical Foundation, Dr. Randolph Linde.
I happened to learn during my appointment that late last year, Merck, the manufacturer of Zetia made headlines ONCE MORE with this drug. The NYT posted this late last December:
Data About Zetia Risks Was Not Fully Revealed
New evidence shows that the drug makers Merck and Schering-Plough have conducted several studies of their popular cholesterol medicine Zetia that raise questions about its risks to the liver, but the companies have never published those results.
Partial results of the studies, alluded to in documents on the Food and Drug Administration’s Web site, raise questions about whether Zetia can cause liver damage when used long term with other cholesterol drugs called statins.
Furthermore, in January the Washington Post published:
Drug Doesn’t Slow Artery Clogs, Study Says
A popular cholesterol-lowering drug failed to help slow the buildup of artery-clogging plaque in a long-awaited study, the companies that market the medication said yesterday, raising questions about whether its use should be limited.
The drug, Vytorin (a combination of Zetia and Zocor), also did not reduce the thickness of plaque lining artery walls, a significant disappointment for the manufacturers.
“Obviously, we would have preferred a more favorable result,” said Skip Irvine, a spokesman for Merck-Schering-Plough Pharmaceuticals, a joint venture between the two companies that markets both Zetia and Vytorin.
Questions that cross my mind:
-How is it possible that the FDA approves medicines on the basis of lowering cholesterol alone, while not helping (actually going against) reduction in the probabilities of cardiovascular disease?
-What type of principles guide the conduct of Merck and Schering-Plough, when they are unwilling to publish these results (1), the best they can say is they “would have preferred a more favorable result” and they are simply dissapointed? What kind of morals (if any) do these people have?
I am outraged and happy at the same time. Outraged at things like the ones I learned about today and happy that I learned about them and people with ethics like Dr. Linde will let me know about them and hopefully reduce the chances of me having complications down the road.
These things are out right WRONG and should NOT be happening and if they happen, they should be questioned and those who approve and those who put drugs like these go on the market should be held responsible!