According to a German study, Lipitor, Pfizer's cholesterol-lowering statin drug and the best-selling drug in the world, is no more effective than similar cholesterol drugs, and in some cases may have worse side effects.
Controversy Follows New Price Guidelines
The study demonstrating this stems from a controversy in Germany regarding the pricing of Lipitor and other statin drugs.
Health insurers in Germany introduced a fixed price for Lipitor at the end of 2004. Pfizer asked its patients to pay the difference between the price of Lipitor and the sum that would be paid by health insurers, then started an advertising campaign in newspapers arguing that Lipitor is better than other statins. Most other pharmaceutical companies lowered the price of their drugs after the fixed price was introduced.
Lipitor No Better and Often Worse
The study, which involved a survey of previous studies from around the world, found that:
- Lipitor did not prolong the life of people with chronic coronary heart disease
- For acute diseases, Lipitor, Zocor, and Pravastin provided similar results
- Lipitor did not prolong life in people with diabetes mellitus
- Some studies on Lipitor had to be stopped because it had more side effects compared with Zocor