Cardiology Drugs Of The Year: New, Old, And Not-So-Funny

New Drug Of The Year: LCZ696 from Novartis

Old Drug of the Year: Ezetimibe

Not-So-Funny Drug of the Year: Ivabradine

Click here to read the full post on Forbes.



  1. This drug is hype meant to extract an extremely high price by mashing together a cheap generic with a new and somewhat risky drug. The benefits are minor, despite the mangling of statistics in the press releases.
    The drug is a compound of generic valsartan and sacubitril. Milton Packer claims the compound is a “unique chemical” substance and that the two drugs must be given together in this form or risk serious secondary effects.
    This is complete nonsense. First, a compound is simply NOT a new chemical in itself. Second, others researching this drug are giving the two components separately and varying the doses.

    The results were presented as achieving about a 20% increase in survival compared to another drug (enalapril). What does that really mean? From the study: “A total of 558 deaths (13.3%) in the LCZ696 group and 693 (16.5%) in the enalapril group were due to cardiovascular causes.”

    In other words, you “save” 3 patients out of 100 (16.5% – 13.3% = 3.2%). The “20%” is misleading.

    The study continues, putting this another way: “Over the duration of the trial, the numbers of patients who would need to have been treated to prevent one primary event and one death from cardiovascular causes were 21 and 32, respectively.”

    There are estimates Novartis will charge about $2500/yr for the drug, compared with $40/yr ($10/90 tablets) for enalapril.

    Milton Packer himself, whose research was funded by Novartis, subscribes to the idea drug prices should correspond not to their costs of development but to factors like the cost of alternate treatments, added quality of life, etc.

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