Lilly’s ‘good cholesterol’ drug enters race with Merck, Roche (Morning Read)

Current medical news from today, including new cholesterol drug from Eli Lilly shows positive results in study, cardiac stem cells succeed in early study, and super committee keeps its hands off the healthcare law.

Current medical news and unique business news for anyone who cares about healthcare.

Lilly’s new approach to cholesterol. Eli Lilly’s experimental cholesterol drug doubled patients’ HDL, or good cholesterol, setting the stage for a race between the Indianapolis pharmaceutical company and Merck and Roche Holding AG to develop new drugs that lower heart risk by increasing good cholesterol. Traditional cholesterol drugs lower “bad” LDL cholesterol, but even high doses aren’t enough for some patients. Pfizer developed a “good cholesterol” drug but abandoned it in 2006 after it triggered deaths in a trial.

Cardiac stem cells show promise. In the first study using cardiac stem cells in humans, doctors have improved heart function and reversed tissue damage using stems cell from patients’ own hearts.

Hands-off healthcare. The deficit-cutting super committee says everything is on the table, but what it really means is everything is on the table except for President Obama’s healthcare law. The one exception could be the law’s $14 billion public health and prevention fund, which both sides have criticized. Read more from Politico on the committee’s hands-off healthcare approach.

Middle management jobs may make a return. A nationwide CareerBuilder survey found that almost half of healthcare companies that cut middle management jobs in recent years aim to bring them back, citing negative consequences of the cuts like decreased morale.

Big Pharma bullies in China. As western pharmaceutical companies expand their businesses into China — the world’s number three market for drugs, according to IMS Health — Chinese drug companies are taking a beating. The MSCI China/Health Care Index, comprising most of the country’s biggest drugmakers, has fallen 34 percent this year, compared with a 15 percent fall for the index overall.