Recently, Pfizer announced that it wants to change how it sells its cholesterol-lowering statin medication Lipitor. They want to introduce a version that allows consumers to buy over-the-counter statin medications without a prescription.
The reason? Lipitor is losing its U.S. patent protection in November. So, rather than risk its $11 billion a year Lipitor business, it wants to put the health of millions of people at risk of the many side effects of statins.
Selling Statin Medications Over-the-Counter Is a Disaster Waiting to Happen
First off, taking statin medications without a physician’s care is dangerous. The side effects of statins can include liver damage, so you need to be monitored regularly by a doctor. Plus, the side effects of statins can cause a whole host of health issues—including mental confusion, memory decline, muscle aches, fatigue, depression, and more. Without a physician’s oversight, these health issues would go unchecked.
Second, most people don’t understand when statin medications are truly needed. Right now, statin medications are overprescribed by physicians. Making statin medications an over-the-counter drug would only compound the problem, exposing even more people to the side effects of statins. The only people who should be on statin medications are men over 50 who have coronary artery disease. For everyone else, statin medications may actually be raising the incidence of heart failure because they deplete the body of CoQ10—a biochemical that’s critical to heart health.
In the past, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has squashed efforts by other statin drug manufacturers to sell statin medications over-the-counter. The right thing for the FDA to do now is to tell Pfizer no!
Plus, I want to remind you again that if you’re on statin medications you MUST take Coenzyme Q10 (Co10) because statins deplete the body of this important nutrient. At a minimum, you want to take 200 mg of highly-absorbable CoQ10 in divided doses with your statins. This will help to mitigate some of the many side effects of statins.
Now it’s your turn: What are your thoughts on selling statin medications over-the-counter?