Switching to generic statins not so healthy

Speaking of Pfizer, the company announced results from a new trial that showed statin-switching isn't such a good idea. Lipitor patients who switched to simvastatin saw their risk of cardio events and death rise by almost a third. Presented at the European Society of Cardiology Congress, the data also appears in The British Journal of Cardiology.

The analysis compared some 2,500 patients who had been taking Lipitor, but then switched to simvastatin, with about 9,000 patients who didn't switch. It wasn't a randomized trial, so patients who switched might have had underlying conditions that contributed to their increased risk of heart problems, but the data was analyzed to take that into account. The data is significant because, as Pfizer points out, many managed-care companies and governments are pushing patients toward generic statin drugs - like simvastatin, also known as Merck & Co.'s Zocor, which lost patent protection in June 2006--rather than the more expensive brand-name statins like Lipitor.

- read the article from MarketWatch
and here's the release