Monday, March 15, 2010

Abbott's TriCor Fails To Beat A Sugar Pill in Diabetics - And In Pharma's Current Death Spiral, Forget About a Drug That Will

In numerous national publications today, we are once again reminded that lowering the risk of diabetics for vascular events (MI/heart attack, CVA/stroke etc.) and death is far more complex than lowering measures such as cholesterol and blood pressure.

Note these articles:

Abbott's TriCor Fails To Beat A Sugar Pill
March 14, 2010 - 9:58 am
Matthew Herper

ATLANTA -- A popular triglyceride-lowering drug that has been taken by millions of Americans failed to prevent heart disease in a big federal study being presented today.

The drug, TriCor from Abbott Laboratories, has been used for over a quarter of a century to lower levels of fatty particles in the blood called triglycerides. The presumption has been that doing so would prevent heart attacks or heart-related deaths. TriCor has annual sales of more than $1 billion.

But the new study being presented at the American College of Cardiology meeting casts doubt on this. In the study, funded by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, 5,500 patients with diabetes got either TriCor or a placebo. After five years, there was no difference in the rate of heart attacks, strokes and deaths in the patients who got Tricor versus those who took a sugar pill.


Search for Better Diabetes Therapy Falls Short
Mar. 14, 2010, 9:39 P.M. ET
Ron Winslow
Wall Street Journal

Current Treatments, While Effective, Failed to Also Help Prevent Heart Attacks and Stroke

ATLANTA—New strategies to prevent and treat diabetes and heart disease failed to improve care in two major studies, frustrating researchers' efforts to find more-effective approaches to the world's burgeoning diabetes epidemic.

The studies are among the first large trials to test whether treatments recommended for diabetes patients also reduce the risk of heart attacks and strokes. Diabetics are between two and four times as likely to die of cardiovascular causes as nondiabetics. The lack of data on whether strategies to treat diabetes actually lower heart risk is of growing concern to physicians, researchers and regulators.

One new study, called Accord, found that treating blood pressure to lower levels than recommended in current practice doesn't further reduce risk of death, heart attack and stroke among people with diabetes. The same study also found that the drug Tricor, marketed by Abbott Laboratories, failed to prevent such events even though it lowered levels of blood fats called triglycerides that are associated with high diabetes risk.

In the other report, dubbed Navigator, a diabetes drug called Starlix failed to prevent people at high risk of diabetes from progressing to the disease. The blood-pressure medicine Diovan did modestly reduce risk of developing diabetes in the same study, but neither drug significantly cut the risk of heart-related deaths, heart attacks and strokes. Both pills in this study are sold by Novartis SA of Switzerland.

There is a meta-issue I wish to bring up:

It's clear there are many phenomena going on in diabetes and other metabolic disorders that we simply do not understand.

It's also very likely that there are new drugs, yet undiscovered, that could be developed and that would improve mortality and morbidity.

It's too bad the pharmaceutical industry is now largely run by dyscompetents, incompetents, and other management charlatans, not to mention those responsible for questionable or outright criminal behaviors (such as here, here).

This privileged class has apparently so demoralized pharma rank and file including the very soul of drug discovery (chemists) - based for example on "layoff thread" comments on a very popular blog for medicinal, synthetic and other chemists such as here - that these new drugs are increasingly unlikely to be developed at all.

The industry in its current anti-intellectual, "lay them off and watch the stock price rise", short-term narrow-minded idiocy-driven death spiral is basically good for nothing except money games.


-- SS

1 comment:

Isaac_Ezell said...

The poster is right, Pharma is not looking good because of widespread poor mgmt practices, the same could be said of many service providers in the medical industry. Unfortunately, it is very hard to look past the problems of today, but if we want things to change we have to start.