Posted on Jan 15, 2014

Numerous people in the United States take cholesterol-reducing medication. But is it beneficial? If you are taking Merck’s Liptruzet then it might not be.

CBS news reports on Merck's recall of Liptruzet.

Merck issued a recall of its popular drug Liptruzet, because it might be ineffective in reducing cholesterol due to a problem with the packaging. But new issues show that the drug might be tainted and thus have no benefit to consumers at all.

Apparently the ineffectiveness of the drug is due to defects in the way it was packaged. Merck has recalled the entire U.S. supply of Liptruzet. “Merck, the world's third-biggest drug maker, said some of the foil pouches holding the pills may allow air and moisture inside. The company said there's a remote chance that could decrease the drug's effectiveness or otherwise change its properties,” according to CBS.  

CBS explains how Liptruzet is supposed to work, “Liptruzet combines two popular drugs that work in complementary ways to reduce levels of LDL, or bad cholesterol, a common strategy for preventing heart attacks and strokes. One is Merck's own Zetia, known chemically as ezetimibe, which decreases the amount of cholesterol absorbed from food. The other ingredient, atorvastatin, lowers the body's natural production of cholesterol.” Merck will continue to sell Zetia.

The drug is quite expensive, even for consumers who have health insurance, as they still have to give copay. “Merck continues to sell Zetia, and several companies sell inexpensive atorvastatin. Liptruzet costs more than $5.50 per pill, about the same as Zetia, while atorvastatin costs about 25 cents a pill. Atorvastatin is the generic version of Lipitor, the cholesterol pill made by Pfizer Inc. that was the world's top-selling drug for nearly a decade until it got generic competition two years ago,” according to CBS.

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Gerry Oginski
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