New drug reduces heart attacks, but is that enough?

By , on August 29, 2017

TRENTON, N.J. — A large, long-term study of a new Merck cholesterol drug shows that it prevents heart attacks and reduces the need for heart procedures.

But the drug, anacetrapib, only reduced those complications by 9 per cent, leaving Merck in a quandary. After spending 13 years and likely hundreds of millions of dollars testing the drug, the company has to decide whether to spend even more to seek approval from regulators and convince people to buy it in a market full of cholesterol drugs.

The results of the 30,450-patient study were announced Tuesday at a conference of heart specialists in Barcelona, Spain and published in the New England Journal of Medicine.