CVD cost watch
Use and costs of cardiovascular drugs escalating in Canada
The law of supply and demand is playing tricks with consumers in the Canada. Or is it the pharmaceutical industry? A study reports that the use of cardiovascular medications in Canada has been increasing during the past ten years. The most popular drugs are statins, angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs), and ACE inhibitors. During the said decade, the costs of the medications increased more than 200%!
According to lead researcher Dr Cynthia Jackevicius “This rapid escalation of costs for cardiovascular drugs threatens the sustainability of public drug-insurance programs. Increases of this magnitude over such a relatively short period deserve further scrutiny.”
CVD clinical trial watch
ARBITER-6 HALTS stopped early: Safety not an issue, but little else known
The clinical trial ARBITER-6 HALTS which compares the effect of ezetimibe with extended-release niacin on carotid intima-media thickness has been stopped prematurely but no detailed explanation except that “it was not stopped due to safety concerns.”
CVD implant watch
Surgeons report “alarmingly early stenosis” with porcine heart valve; manufacturer assures safety, efficacy
It’s the doctor’s word against the manufacturer’s. Who do we believe? A group of heart surgeons report that patients implanted with the Mosaic bioprosthetic valve in the aortic position are suffering from “alarmingly early stenosis”. Mosaic is a 3rd generation porcine heart valve manufactured by Medtronic, and is supposedly durable for 10 to 15 years. Several surgeons, however, led by Dr Jennifer S Lawton of the Washington University School of Medicine, have observed a surprisingly high incidence of early stenosis. Of the122 patients who received the implant, four cases of severe stenosis occurred which required valve replacement just three to 44 months after implantation. Dr Jeff Tyner of Scripps Clinic, La Jolla, CA commented to heartwire that Lawton et al’s report was “not enough to condemn the Mosaic, although it’s a possible problem that you’d want to track.”
An official statement from Medtronic states that “We are committed to the highest possible product reliability and quality for physicians and patients. Medtronic stands behind its conviction that the Mosaic valve is a safe and efficacious product for patients.”
CVD drug watch
FDA Approves Effient to Reduce the Risk of Heart Attack in Angioplasty Patients
The US FDA the blood-thinning agent prasugel (Effient tablets) for the prevention of blood clot formation in patients who undergo angioplasty. Angioplasty is a popular procedure in unblocking clogged coronary arteries.
During an angioplasty, a balloon is used to open the artery that has been narrowed by atherosclerotic plaque.Often, a tiny wire mesh scaffold (stent) is inserted into the blood vessel to help keep the artery open after the procedure. Platelets in the blood can clump around the procedure site, causing clots that can lead to heart attack, stroke, and death.