Pfizer hit by failure of cholesterol drug

By Christopher Bowe in New York
Published: December 3 2006 18:50 

Pfizer has scrapped its most important pipeline drug because of safety concerns, damaging the image of the world's largest drugmaker and throwing its outlook into jeopardy. The failure of torcetrapib, a late-stage experimental cholesterol drug, clouds Pfizer's financial outlook from 2010 and is likely to put pressure on the group's shares on Monday. To read full article, register with the Financial Times, click here.

Abbreviated article: 04/12/2006 Financial Times By: Presswatch

Pfizer scraps key drug Pfizer, the world's largest drug company, has abruptly halted clinical trials of its leading experimental medicine, the cholesterol drug torcetrapib, after the deaths of eighty-two people during testing. Evidence from the trials, which involved 15,000 patients worldwide - some of them in the United Kingdom - revealed increased death rates from heart attacks and strokes. In the 7,500 people taking a combination of torcetrapib and atorvastatin (Lipitor) there had been 82 deaths from heart attack and stroke, whereas in a similar number taking atorvastatin alone there had been 51 deaths. The abandonment of such a key pipeline drug treatment is a blow for Pfizer, which revealed that an independent safety board had recommended the measures after the trial had shown what was referred to as "an imbalance of mortality and cardiovascular events."