Lipitor, Pfizer’s blockbuster cholesterol-lowering statin medication, has been approved for use in children with heterozygous familial hypercholesterolemia in the US since 2002, according to Pharmafile. (FH is an “inherited disorder that leads to aggressive and premature cardiovascular disease”). And those with FH are likely in great need of Lipitor.
But FH is a pretty rare disease. And Pfizer’s putting a lot of effort into chewable Lipitor.
Is Pfizer is positioning itself to profit – at the expense of children – by inducing pediatricians to more broadly prescribe Lipitor for children?
At my family’s annual holiday party, I was again stunned at the fact that all of my blood relatives my age or older take statins to lower cholesterol.
All. Of. Them.
Even though none are overweight and we do not have a family history of cardiac disease. Yes, we do have a family history of high cholesterol; all of us have cholesterol levels that top out at well over 200. But our family history is rife with high cholesterol, not heart disease.
So why? Why has every single one of my relatives heeded their internist or GP’s advice and gone on a statin to lower cholesterol when they don’t have other cardiac risk factors?
Bless me, doctor, for I have sinned. It’s been 11 months since my last cholesterol test. (Sorry, could not resist putting this in Catholic confessional format!)
So, I finally worked up the courage to have my cholesterol tested a few weeks ago and the news is – well – fine. Not great. No movement in the right direction. Indeed, some movement in the wrong direction. BUT the following magic words were uttered by my doctor, “We can keep monitoring – no need to start you on statins.”
She didn’t say ‘yet’ but I know she was thinking it.
NBC Nightly News and MSNBC reported just hours ago that a new, 10-year study by the US government’s Women’s Health Initiative shows that statins (the cholesterol-lowering Rx drugs like Lipitor, Crestor and Zocor) may cause Type 2 diabetes in women over 50. Here are 2 key paragraphs from an MSNBC.com online article, Statins Linked with Small Diabetes Risk:
“A new side effect seems to be emerging for those cholesterol-lowering wonder drugs called statins: They may increase some people’s chances of developing Type 2 diabetes.” “But more and more doctors are urging otherwise healthy people to use the pills as a way to prevent heart disease.
Have you seen this ad? Lipitor – the world’s biggest-selling prescription drug (that’s right, not just world’s #1 cholesterol drug – the biggest Rx, period) – is running ads designed to scare people into believing they need Lipitor. When they don’t.
Or at least they might not.
What they are doing in this ad is brilliant from a marketing perspective (I’ve worked in consumer packaged goods marketing since 1990). They have absolutely NAILED the common fear among those with high cholesterol: should I treat it with an Rx or not?