The editorial comments: 'The statin market is vast. Pfizer's atorvastatin-the world's best-selling drug-had sales in 2002 of US$ 8 billion. AstraZeneca predicts that it can take a 20% share of this global market. It needs to. The company reported a 17% drop in pre-tax profits in the second quarter of this year. After a damaging delay over safety concerns, rosuvastatin finally won US FDA approval in August and was launched last month, winning a 2% market share after only three weeks. [Tom] McKillop [AstraZeneca's Chief Executive] has pledged to do whatever it takes to persuade doctors to prescribe rosuvastatin, including launching an estimated $1 billion first-year promotional campaign. "We've got to drive the momentum", he said at a recent investors meeting. "You get one shot at launching a major new product. This is our shot."'
Galaxy-the umbrella consortium of randomised trials that have tested rosuvastatin in different clinical settings-is the marketing tool for the drug; the Lancet editorial points out weaknesses of many of the trials, commenting that 'with no clinical end-point trial yet completed, the company has chosen to market rosuvastatin by applying adventurous statistics to an overinterpreted syllogism.'
The editorial concludes: 'Since there are no reliable data about efficacy and safety-and AstraZeneca is facing unusually acute commercial pressure to force rosuvastatin into the market-doctors should pause before prescribing this drug. Physicians must tell their patients the truth about rosuvastatin-that, compared with its co
Contact: Joe Santangelo