Thursday, November 02, 2006

Something to keep in mind

A quick break from election politics for a moment. Pfizer may be having trouble with what is supposed to be its next big drug:
"Pfizer said yesterday that clinical trials of torcetrapib — a heart medication that is the most important drug in the company’s pipeline — confirmed that it raises blood pressure, a potentially serious side effect.

Any problems with torcetrapib would be a serious setback for Pfizer, the world’s largest drug company. Pfizer has been counting on the new medicine to eventually replace the $13 billion in annual sales from the cholesterol-lowering drug Lipitor, which loses patent protection in 2010.

Cardiologists and Wall Street analysts alike have been closely watching the clinical trials of torcetrapib, a medicine intended to raise so-called good cholesterol.

Pfizer’s stock dropped 2 percent after the announcement by the company, which has been researching torcetrapib for a decade and is spending $800 million to develop it."
For every successful drug that makes it to market, and that is "high priced" during its period of patent exclusivity, there are hundreds (if not thousands) that work was done on but that don't make it. The successful drugs have to pay for them as well. In this case, if torcetrapib were to fail, nearly a billion dollars needs to be recouped. The brightest minds at Pfizer have worked on this for a decade and it still might fail. Something to keep in mind in the heat of campaigns when drug costs are invoked and drug companies are villified.

No comments: