AstraZeneca plans response to Public Citizen allegations

WILMINGTON, DE: AstraZeneca is taking "proprietary" steps to respond to an attack on the safety of cholesterol-lowering drug Crestor, said Gary Bruell, director of cardiovascular public affairs.

WILMINGTON, DE: AstraZeneca is taking "proprietary" steps to respond to an attack on the safety of cholesterol-lowering drug Crestor, said Gary Bruell, director of cardiovascular public affairs.

Bruell declined to discuss the nature of those steps, but said the company would work with Edelman, its AOR, as part of the response.

Public Citizen's allegations predated Crestor's August approval. Most recently, Public Citizen penned a May 18 letter to the FDA, citing 14 new cases in which the drug caused muscle or kidney destruction.

AstraZeneca responded with a May 19 press release, stating that the serious muscle complication, known as rhabdomyolysis, has occurred in fewer than 0.01% of patients.

Media reports have a strong effect on patients, Bruell noted.

"That's enough to alarm them," he said. "We felt it was absolutely critical to respond to the concerns of Public Citizen." He noted that past allegations have caused prescriptions to decrease, but added, "It's very hard to put an absolute on whether an event has had an effect on prescriptions."

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