The New Jersey Star Ledger reports that an FDA medical policy official warns that patients on cholesterol medication should be wary about abandoning treatment.
The New York Times reports that UnitedHealth Group is recommending -- in line with the FDA official's comments -- that its members who have Vytorin prescriptions remain on the drug because it presents no safety issues. CNNMoney reports that Cigna adjusted its drug coverage in response to the study. "The
"(A)n aspect of the current discussion that troubles me greatly is the implication in some stories that we're not so sure anymore that even lowering cholesterol with statins is all that clearly beneficial," Robert Temple, medical policy director for the FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, told the web site. [That's what I took away from reading a recent BusinessWeek article on statins, but I'm not an MD.] "As the recent Crestor story reminds us (for people without known cardiac disease, by the way) we sure do know it is beneficial and people who need that treatment will pay with their lives if they're encouraged to avoid treatment."
Temple also said he hasn't drawn any conclusions about the purported ineffectiveness of Vytorin, also known as ezetimibe, and said the agency will likely take six months to review new data about the drug.