Cholesterol Drug

Advisers debate safety of allowing over-the-counter sales of cholesterol drug

An FDA advisory panel is expected to make its recommendation today on whether a cholesterol drug should be sold over the counter. The drug Mevacor lowers cholesterol by limiting the buildup of artery-clogging fat deposits. It also reduces the risk of heart attack by about a third. Sponsors who want Mevacor available without a prescription say the drug could help millions of Americans who are at moderate risk of heart disease.

However, some say that selling it directly to the public could encourage patients to skip doctor visits. And there are questions about whether consumers will accurately determine whether the drug is right for them.