David Guest wrote:

a message pops up saying "Give this patient Lipitor, you loser"... The bottom line, however, is that death from heart disease is lower. So it's all good.

Except there are more cost-effective statins than Lipitor - see below.

Dr. Ken Harvey
Adjunct Senior Research Fellow
School of Public Health, La Trobe University
VOIP:  +61 (03) 9029 0634; Mobile +61 (04) 1918 1910

Pfizer Backtracks on the Benefit of Atorvastatin Over Simvastatin: "Programming Error" in Flawed Study Cited
from Heartwire — a professional news service of WebMD


Michael O'Riordan

June 18, 2007 (New York, NY) – The availability of simvastatin as a generic drug for patients with high cholesterol levels expectedly put the heat on atorvastatin (Lipitor), Pfizer's blockbuster statin that is still the world's best-selling medication. In fending off simvastatin, sold by Merck and Co as Zocor, Pfizer has claimed that its drug prevents more cardiovascular events than the generically available simvastatin.

That was the gist of a press release issued by Pfizer this past March, a release based on a study by Dr Robert Vogel (University of Maryland, Baltimore) and presented at the American Heart Association's annual conference on Cardiovascular Disease Epidemiology and Prevention. In that study, Pfizer said that among those taking statins for at least three months, the risk of cardiovascular events, after adjustment for dose, was 14% lower in patients who took atorvastatin compared with simvastatin.

Now, however, the company is backing away from those findings, claiming that the benefit observed in the study was just 10%, a between-treatment difference that did not meet statistical significance. Pfizer issued a two-paragraph statement with the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) stating the previous findings were incorrect, the result of a "programming error" that came to light only after the study was submitted to an unnamed medical journal, according to the Wall Street Journal [1].
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