Dr. Weeks’ Comment: Bad news for Big Pharma’s bottom line
Rx TO OTC SWITCH
The public should know that the probably the best “drug” to control high cholesterol is Niacin (as long as tachyphalaxis to the flushing is achieved). The dose of 1,000 mg, 2x/day is quite effective and the cost is pennies a day. Niacin is probably one of the few natural products with proven efficacy. Just look it up in the PDR.
The FDA Advisory Panel has ruled that the anti-cholesterol medications such as Merck’s Mevacor and Bristol Meyers Squibb’s Pravachol should not go OTC. While it was argued that too many of the 53 million Americans with high cholesterol go untreated even though cholesterol is the biggest risk for heart disease, the FDA Advisory Panel said Mevacor should not be sold OTC because:
- 1. Patients don’t seem to understand cholesterol well enough to self-medicate. In one study, half the people who thought they were candidates for over-the-counter Mevacor were wrong. Their cholesterol was either so high they needed a doctor’s care, or too low to even consider drugs.
2. Blood tests are required to know cholesterol levels and see if a drug is working, but there’s no way to ensure nonprescription patients get tested.
3. While higher doses of statins have proved life-saving and even low-dose Mevacor can lower cholesterol, Merck never proved that a mere 10 milligrams a day would prevent heart attacks in moderate-risk patients.