Of Pfizer and Failure

Folks may remember torcetrapib, a Pfizer failure that was supposed to prevent heart attacks, It was touted to be combined with Pfizer’s best seller, the cholesterol-lowering drug atorvastatin, better known as Lipitor®, a cash cow now competing with generics. Lipitor was known for its mild side effects – constipation, diarrhea, nausea, fatigue, gas, heartburn, headache, and mild muscle pain – about the same as eating a large can of chili beans too quickly.

Torcetrapib, infamously archived as Pfizer’s $800 million failure, went through lengthy research, marketing hype and testing. Pfizer was just about to submit it for approval when trials combining it with Lipitor® started showing high death rates in test subjects and the new drug was withdrawn. The torcetrapib catastrophe caused a huge hole in Pfizer’s drug pipeline and profits.

Folks may want to keep that discredited drug in mind as they line up to get their first shot of the new coronavirus vaccine. Torcetrapib went through extensive testing and trials. The new coronavirus vaccine is a rushed job. Front-line health care workers and our most vulnerable will be the first real long term case study subjects.

We won’t know if the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is effective until the end of January 2021. First shot, 21 days later second shot, 10 days later immunity … maybe.

I lined up two weeks ago at my local pharmacy to get my first ever flu shot. It has a long history of mild side-effects and reasonable effectiveness. I have no problem at all with recommending a proven vaccine to my family, friends and broader community. I will not, however, sign them up as experimental test subjects.

With this new coronavirus double-shot, frozen vaccine rolling out to countries around the world thanks to billions in international taxpayer dollars being paid out for our “free” vaccinations, Pfizer stands to recoup its losses and save the world. Not to mention the potential surge in the stock market bouncing up from the massive infrastructure investment needed to store and transport this vaccine. Got to love for-profit benevolence.

It always reminds us that there is no such thing as a free lunch.

The way I see it.

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Skid Crease, Caledon

*image from forbes.com

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