Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Generic Statins To See Wider Use -- In USA?

Reuters has a new story out this morning about how -- on the heels of a new study -- generic statins are likely to see wider deployment in the United States, as the population generally becomes heavier, more sedentary and continues to age. This would potentially be good news for Merck, except that Zocor® (simvastatin) is available as a generic (and has been for about three years), thus:

. . . .The latest study looked to see if giving statins to more people would be worth the extra cost -- something on the minds of U.S. politicians and insurers seeking to find ways to save costs as part of healthcare reform. Countries with national healthcare systems are also looking for ways to save money.

The team tested two strategies -- either simply giving statins to more people or only giving them to people with a high CRP test. . . .

Statins -- the world's top-selling drugs -- have been so effective at lowering low-density lipoprotein or LDL, the so-called "bad" cholesterol, that some doctors have jokingly suggested they should be added to the public water supply.

Not only do they significantly cut the risk of heart attack and stroke but they may reduce the risk of death from influenza, pneumonia and smoking.

Many brands such as Merck's Zocor are now generic and many more will soon go off patent, making the drugs even more affordable. . . .

Indeed -- I am not remotely anti-pharma, I am just allergic to excessive pricing, for very mature branded life-saving medicines.

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