New Statin Rules: Which Drugmakers Had Ties?
Earlier this week, the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology released new guidelines that will dramatically change the calculus for prescribing cholesterol-lowering medicines. And while there is debate about the extent to which prescribing habits will change quickly, the big winners are expected to be drugmakers that sell statins, since other types of pills were not recommended (see Pharma news).
However, here is an interesting note. Of the 15 panelists that authored these new guidelines, six reported having recent or current ties to drugmakers that already sell or are developing cholesterol medications. And among the half dozen who disclosed these relationships was one of the two panel co-chairs, which contradicts an Institute of Medicine suggestion about managing conflicts on such panels.
Each of the six panelists disclosed they worked as a consultant and received funding for personal research. And among the 10 expert reviewers, half listed consulting relationships. Among the companies cited are Merck (MRK), Amgen (AMGN), AstraZeneca (AZN), Pfizer (PFE), Amarin (AMRN), Roche (RHHBY) and Abbott Laboratories (ABT), although its cholesterol pills are now sold by AbbVie (ABBV), which was spun off last year.
The financial ties may concern some, while others may shrug off the disclosure. Certainly, the issue of financial conflicts of interest has been debated for a while amid fears that such relationships may unduly influence decision makers whose recommendations hold considerable sway over medical practice. For this reason, the IOM two years ago updated standards to guide expert panels.
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Ed Silverman, a contributing editor of YCharts, is the founder and editor of Pharmalot. He previously reported on the pharmaceutical industry and other business topics for the Star-Ledger of New Jersey, New York Newsday and Investor’s Business Daily. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Read the RIABiz profile of YCharts. You can also request a demonstration of YCharts Platinum.