Last Thursday, Pfizer�s executives conducted a well rehearsed dog-and-pony
show at Pfizer�s research facilities in Groton, Conn. All interest was focused
on torcetrapib; the most important new drug in Pfizer's pipeline, which boosts
According to Forbes, Pfizer Chief Executive Jeffrey Kindler told about 250
analysts and investors attending the meeting that torcetrapib was "one of
the most important developments in our generation."
Pfizer research president John LaMattina said, "We believe this is the
most important new development in cardiovascular medicine in years,"
according to the Wall Street Journal.
On Saturday, -- two days later -- Pfizer said in a statement that
it is terminating all clinical tests of torcetrapib and its plans to bring the
drug to market. A board of independent experts had reviewed the latest data
from a 15,000-patient test on torcetrapib and found that patients on the drug were
dying like flies; almost twice as many dead as on the placebo. The company also
said it is asking doctors participating in studies of torcetrapib to tell
patients to stop taking the drug immediately.
The Associated Press concluded, �The news is devastating to Pfizer, which
had been counting on the drug to revitalize stagnant sales that have been hurt
by numerous patent expirations on key products. It has said it was spending
around $800 million to develop torcetrapib.�
Of course, in the drug industry, bad stuff happens. But in this particular
case, the whole scientific world had been worried about the fact that
torcetrapib raises blood pressure. Not a good thing for a cardiovascular drug.
But that didn't stop the Pfizer executives from hyping torcetrapib. Until it
turned out that "one of the most important developments in our
generation" was really a killer drug -- quite literally.
And this is what makes Pfizer�s CEO Jeffrey Kindler and Pfizer�s research
chief Dr. John LaMattina officially the most clueless executives in the
drug business.Peter Rost, M.D., is a former Vice President of Pfizer. He
became well known in 2004 when he emerged as the first drug company executive
to speak out in favor of reimportation of drugs. He is the author of �The
Whistleblower, Confessions of a Healthcare Hitman,� the-whistleblower-by-peter-rost.blogspot.com.
He also writes the daily Dr. Peter