American pharmaceutical giant Merck revealed that it will be pulling off its anti-cholesterol drug Tredaptive from the market after it was recommended by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) that the drug should not be marketed in Europe.
Tredaptive was not approved by the US Food and Drug Administration but was available in Europe after EMA had initially approved it back in 2008. However a recent study involving more than 25,000 patients revealed that while the drug did reduce the level of bad cholesterol, or LDL, and increased good cholesterol or HDL levels, there was no difference regarding the major cardiovascular events, such as coronary deaths and strokes, compared to the patients who took just statins.
In fact the study found that people who took Tredaptive had a higher rate of types of nonfatal serious adverse events compared to those who took statins.
Merck said that it will be asking doctors to recommend alternative drug to their patients with a company spokeswoman stating that Merck expects the available stock to be exhausted by mid-March. Tredaptive is available in more than 40 countries but accounts for annual sales of less than $20 million for the company.