And the voting wasn't close, either. The panel voted 10-2, with one abstention, against Merck's plan for a low-dose version, and expressed concerns about that a study failed to show that consumers could make appropriate decisions about taking an OTC cholesterol pill. The panel also voted 11-2 that a Merck study failed to show that consumers could make appropriate decisions about whether to take an OTC version of Mevacor.
The Merck proprosal drew a great deal of opposition from such groups as the American Medical Association and Public Citizen, which argued an OTC cholesterol pill would generate inappropriate use. For instance, an FDA review found that people who shouldnâ€™t take Mevacor - such as women of childbearing age, some people who had heart attacks and those whose heart risk is too low to need such a med - would buy an OTC pill if available.