Merck scraps disappointing experimental cholesterol drug

FILE - In this Dec. 18, 2014, file photo, a person walks through a Merck company building in Kenilworth, N.J. Merck has decided to abandon efforts to market a closely watched experimental cholesterol medicine after mediocre test results. Merck's decision Wednesday, Oct. 11, 2017, to not seek regulatory approval after years of testing marks the fourth time this type of once-promising drug has been scrapped. (AP Photo/Mel Evans, File)

TRENTON, N.J. — Merck has decided to abandon efforts to market a closely watched experimental cholesterol medicine after mediocre test results.

Merck's decision Wednesday to not seek regulatory approval after years of testing marks the fourth time this type of once-promising drug has been scrapped. Merck had continued to study its drug, a so-called CETP inhibitor called anacetrapib, long after rivals had given up on similar drugs.

Merck raised hopes when it announced in June that anacetrapib not only lowered cholesterol, but also reduced heart attacks, deaths and other heart disease complications. But in August it disclosed the pill only cut those risks 9 percent.

That would have limited sales of the drug, if it had won regulatory approval, in part because cheap, genetic statin drugs lower cholesterol well for most people.

Must Read

The Latest: UN may have to reassess Iraq...

Feb 14, 2018

Head of the U.N.'s mine-clearing agency in Iraq says it will reassess priorities if a major donors...

1 dead, several injured in Luxembourg train crash

Feb 14, 2017

One person died and several were injured Tuesday in a head-on collision between a freight train and...

Boost for Dutch ruling coalition as unemployment...

Jan 19, 2017

The number of people registered as unemployed in the Netherlands fell by more than 100,000 last...

Dutch lawmakers extend tolerance to cultivating...

Feb 21, 2017

Dutch lawmakers have voted in favor of tolerating the cultivation of cannabis, a move that could...

Dutch prime minister builds consensus the...

Mar 14, 2017

Dutch prime minister builds consensus the traditional way