Last month’s EU approval of Vazkepa — a treatment derived from fish oil and branded as Vascepa in the US — has added much-needed ammunition to the arsenal of doctors battling cardiovascular disease. Yet other similar treatments are returning lukewarm results and the possibility of approvals being withdrawn hangs in the air.
Icosapent ethyl, a derivative of fish oil formulated by US-Irish biotech Amarin, recently became the first approved treatment in the EU to reduce the risk of strokes and heart attacks in patients with elevated triglycerides—a type of fat—who have previously been treated with statins.
The approval addresses a pressing medical need. Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the leading cause of death worldwide, according to the World Health Organization. In Europe, over 60 million people suffer from CVD, and the cost to the economy is estimated at around €210B per year.
Icosapent ethyl is a purified form of EPA, one of two major omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil, the other one called DHA. The drug,
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