Not all the statin news is good

A CNBC anchor joked today about "putting statins in the water" but not all the news which came about about statins today was good, especially if you're long the stock. (Picture of rosuvastatin molecule from Wikimedia.

A CNBC anchor joked today about "putting statins in the water" but not all the news which came about about statins today was good, especially if you're long the stock. (Picture of rosuvastatin molecule from Wikimedia.)

Statins do not help dialysis patients, and they are no longer the best-selling drugs in the U.S. (Drugs to treat schizophrenia now lead the way.)

But they apparently do have a positive impact on "deep vein thrombosis," blood clots formed in the legs or heart during long periods of remaining motionless. So if you take a lot of international airplane flights ask your doctor.

The best results against clots is among patients with normal cholesterol levels but high levels of C-Reactive Protein (CRP) -- I pronounce it CRiP.

In some ways this is old news. It's a new analysis of the JUPITER study originally funded by Crestor-maker Astra-Zeneca, and today's news was considered especially positive for that company.

A CRP test costs about $50. If you're a frequent flyer it may be worth getting.

What the publicity (and stock action) tell me is that sponsored research still pays, in the short run. Astra Zeneca was much stronger in the stock market today than Pfizer, which makes the leading patented statin, Lipitor. Crestor goes off-patent in 2012, Lipitor in 2010.

While the Wall Street Journal headlined the latest finding with the name Crestor, the New York Times headline simply referred to statins, the generic name. The New England Journal of Medicine article on which the news reports is based refers to Crestor by its chemical name, rosuvastatin.

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