Cholesterol-lowering drugs have been the most successful medicines in history. Last year, they racked up $33 billion in sales around the world. Just one drug, Pfizer’s (PFE) Lipitor, earned $13.6 billion. But there are serious questions about whether these drugs are being overused and whether they are as safe as most peopleâ€”and doctorsâ€”believe. And now Congress is starting to ask those questions, too.
BusinessWeek has learned that Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), the ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee, has sent a letter to the Food & Drug Administration asking whether the agency has sufficiently considered potential problems caused by cholesterol-lowering drugs (most commonly the class of drugs called statins).