Pfizer torcetrib decision second-guessed

An article in the New England Journal of Medicine by Harvard's Jerry Avorn argues that Pfizer's plan to combine Lipitor -- it's blockbuster statin -- with torcetrapib, the new cholesterol-fighting compound developed by the company's researchers, is likely to be bad news for both doctors and patients. Avorn writes that combining the two drugs into one pill as the company plans would have serious ramifications.

"Patients who cannot tolerate (or afford) Lipitor," Avorn writes, "will have no way of obtaining torcetrapib for use with another statin which may be better for them." Pfizer argues industry economics leave it with no choice but to co-market the two drugs together. Critics say the rationale has more to do with Lipitor's patent being set to expire in 2010.

- see this story from the Los Angeles Times