Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Pfizer Drops Bomb on Heart Health Pipeline

Research on drugs for heart disease does not always translate into a pipeline for cures but it certainly is a pipeline for hope. As much as I beat up drugs and drug companies they do provide useful tools for combatting heart disease if properly used. Well, Pfizer just dropped a bomb on that pipeline when an internal memo was leaked stating that Pfizer will drop development of drugs for hyperlipidemia, atherosclerosis, and heart failure

According to a memo obtained by Forbes magazine, Pfizer is exiting a number of areas described in this excerpt as:

"We intend to exit these Disease Areas: Anemia, Atherosclerosis/Hyperlipidemia, Bone Health/Frailty, GI, Heart Failure, Liver Fibrosis, Muscle, Obesity, Osteoarthritis (disease modifying concepts only) and Peripheral Arterial Disease."

Recall that Pfizer had invested billions and recruited leading heart disease researchers to produce blockbuster heart-related drugs such as the cholesterol-lowering drug atorvastatin (Lipitor) and the blood pressure drug amlopidine (Norvasc). No doubt their decision was fueled in part by the multi-billion dollar flop of what they thought would be their next blockbuster drug, torcetrapib, a CETP inhibitor that promised to raise HDL cholesterol by 50% or more. While it did indeed raise HDL dramatically it exhibited side-effects that increased mortality during testing.

Although long-term effect of this loss of talent and capital to heart disease drug research is murky the announcement certainly signals a delay in heart-drug development as research teams are disbanded or reassigned into other areas and new investment capital is sought. To say this is a teribble loss to heart disease sufferers is an understatement. Dr John Kastelein an investigator in several Pfizer-sponsored heart trials referred to Pfizer as "a real powerhouse" in the CV drug arena. Kastelein added, "I think this is very, very significant both for the company itself and for the whole field of CV drug development. Pfizer had truly excellent people in the development arm of their company for CV and metabolic drugs. And if they're stepping out now, that not only signifies their own problems, but it also signifies the problems in CV drug development, and how incredibly difficult and costly it has become to bring new drugs forward. And that's not good for patients."

The moral of this story is that we as heart disease sufferers must lean even harder on the weapons we have today rather than waiting for new "magic bullets." The take way message here is to stop betting on tomorrow and start working with what you have today. Fortunately, the Track Your Plaque progam works exceedingly well with the arsenal at hand. Use it!

Looking out fot your heart health,


HeartHawk

6 comments:

Mitch McConnell said...

People who smoke have more risk of heart attacks than non-smokers do. Due to smoking, the arteries become hard which can block the flow of blood from the heart. This results in a possible heart attack. Doctors can treat his problem by performing bypass surgery, which may be a risky affair for a patient. http://www.chantixhome.com/

HeartHawk said...

Mitch:

It is worse than that! Smoking promotes the formation of artery plaques and even a non-blocking plaque can lead to a heart attack. In fact, most heart attacks occur at arterial sites that do not create flow problems that might signal the need for a heart procedure (that is why I promote heart scans). Far worse, two-thirds of heart attack victims never make to the hospital for that life saving procedure.

Regards,


HeartHawk

Anonymous said...

HeartHawk,

I would like to ask you for some advice. I have a mother that is 71 and has been a heavy smoker for most of her life. She has use of 50% of her kidneys and she just had a mild heart attack. SHe is in the hospital with the doctors telling us they have to do triple bypass on Monday. Should we go forward or take a different route. Arteries are 90% blocked on one and 70% on the others.

I feel this proceedure could be the beginning of the end. Let me know asap if you can.

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jane norman promotion code said...

As per doctor said, The left side of the heart pumps blood into the main pipe feeding great for cleaning the blood, known as the aorta, and this is beginning to branch to different parts of the body within a few centimeters of the place it leaves the heart.

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