It's official: Merck's off-patent statin drug Mevacor can't go over-the-counter. About a month after an advisory panel said "nay" to the idea, the FDA sent Merck a not approvable letter. It's the third time the agency has denied Merck's request to sell Mevacor without a prescription.
This time, there was an added wrinkle: GlaxoSmithKline had inked a deal with Merck for the over-the-counter rights to Mevacor in the U.S. So Merck was asking the FDA for an OK on GSK's behalf. The panel's chief concern: that even Merck's own patient survey showed some who shouldn't be taking statins would choose to do so.
Merck's OTC group is now "evaluating the conditions outlined in the agency's response" to see where to tack next. The FDA asked for a revised label--and, most importantly, for additional data. We'll see what Merck can pull out of its hat.
FDA panel: No can do on Mevacor OTC. Report
FDA unsure consumers can self-Mevacor. Report
Merck faces fierce debate on OTC statin. Report
GSK buys OTC rights to Merck statin. Report
Switching to generic statins not so healthy. Report