Pharmaceutical Companies Race For New Cholesterol Drugs

A discovery of a rare mutation that affects cholesterol has ignited hopes of a prescription that can help prevent heart attacks. In the meantime, an announcement by Roche could pose more questions about controversial diabetes medicines. Also a federal report warns Americans of using some Internet pharmacies.

The New York Times: Rare Mutation Ignites Race For Cholesterol Drug
She was a 32-year-old aerobics instructor from a Dallas suburb -- healthy, college educated, with two young children. Nothing out of the ordinary, except one thing. Her cholesterol was astoundingly low. ... The discovery of the mutation and of the two women with their dazzlingly low LDL levels has set off one of the greatest medical chases ever. It is a fevered race among three pharmaceutical companies, Amgen, Pfizer and Sanofi, to test and win approval for a drug that mimics the effects of the mutation, drives LDL levels to new lows and prevents heart attacks. All three companies have drugs in clinical trials and report that their results, so far, are exciting (Kolata, 7/9).

The New York Times: Roche Abandons New Diabetes Drug
Roche, the Swiss pharmaceutical giant, has discontinued development of a potentially important diabetes drug, a move that could raise new safety questions about the entire category of drugs, which includes the controversial diabetes medicine Avandia (Pollack, 7/9).

Stateline: Rogue Internet Pharmacies Dangerous Says Federal Report
In their search for cheaper prescription drugs, Americans are increasingly turning to Internet pharmacies, many of which federal investigators say skirt U.S. and state regulations and sell misbranded, adulterated and counterfeit drugs. These transactions -- often without a legitimate prescription -- put consumers at risk, the U.S. Government Accountability Office said in a new report released Monday (Ollove, 7/9).

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