The FDA backed continued use of Vytorin, a treatment from Merck & Co. and Schering-Plough, after concluding a safety review that found the drug more effective than generic medicine simvastatin in reducing "bad" cholesterol. The agency initiated an evaluation of Vytorin last year because of clinical-trial data showing that the medication was no better than simvastatin in clearing artery blockage.
Reps. John Dingell and Bart Stupak, D-Mich., on Tuesday called on several drugmakers to voluntarily limit direct-to-consumer advertisements and hold off on marketing their products until certain studies are finalized. The legislators sent letters to the chief executives of Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson, Merck & Co. and Schering-Plough Corp. amid an investigation into the companies' marketing activities, particularly for cholesterol drugs Lipitor and Vytorin.
A panel of cardiologists on Sunday recommended that health care providers reduce use of Vytorin and Zetia -- cholesterol drugs marketed by Merck & Co. and Schering-Plough Corp. -- after the latest study findings backed evidence that they were no better than a generic drug in slowing heart disease progression. Both companies believe study patients previously treated with statins influenced the results. A Schering-Plough official said their products continue to be a "practical option" in cholesterol treatment.
For most people with the chronic skin condition rosacea, the problem manifests itself with more than one disorder, according to new research. The study of 1,233 people with rosacea found 72% reported the condition evolved from one subtype to another and 77% reported experiencing more than one subtype at the same time.
Officials in the Washington, D.C., metro area tested a disease surveillance network called the National Capital Region Disease Surveillance Network last week using a simulated bioterrorist attack and evaluated how well the system tracked the attack with reporting from hospitals, poison centers and other sources. The test showed the system worked well in identifying events early and determining their significance.