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<Dr. Allen J. Taylor, a cardiologist at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center, noted that patients who wanted to raise their HDL already had one proven alternative, the vitamin niacin. Studies have shown that niacin can raise HDL by more than 30 percent.

Despite niacin's side effects, 'it's the most potent drug we have available right now to raise HDL,' said Dr. Taylor. 'It's a safe add-on to statins.'

In any case, Pfizer is not required to test torcetrapib against niacin. F.D.A. rules do not require that new drugs be tested against older ones.>

Business as usual in the Pharm industry, though Pfizer is taking it one step farther by planning to sell this new drug only in combination with Lipitor. Here's the story:

more on the torcetrapib issue:
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