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Correction to Pharmac list

Media statement
For immediate release

Thursday, 7 April 2005

Correction to Pharmac list

In a list issued yesterday by United Future leader, Peter Dunne, detailing many problems with Pharmac's drug buying policies, mention was made of the drug Lipex.

That reference was incorrect and the correct position has been pointed out by Alister Brown, Managing Director, Merck Sharp & Dohme (NZ) Ltd.

He says "Under the heading "Difficulties with Generics" you incorrectly state that Pharmac replaced Lipitor (manufactured by Pfizer) with "generic Lipex" (manufactured by Merck Sharp & Dohme).

As we are the company that discovered and developed Lipex let me assure you and Mr Dunne that it is not a generic.

Lipex (generic name simvastatin) is a product of original research. It is not a generic of Lipitor (generic name atorvastatin). They are different molecules, albeit of the same class, commonly known as statins.

Lipex has unsurpassed evidence from extensive clinical trials and use in many millions of patients worldwide that it decreases the risk of heart attack, stroke, and death in patients at risk of cardiovascular disease.

As Lipitor is still protected by patent in NZ, no company is allowed to sell a generic version of that drug in this market."


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