Vascepa Prevents Major Cardiovascular Events, Says Manufacturer

Top-line results from the closely watched REDUCE-IT trial are out, and they show that Amarin’s proprietary fish-oil drug Vascepa significantly reduced major cardiovascular (CV) events compared with placebo, the company announced.

“REDUCE-IT met its primary endpoint demonstrating an approximately 25% relative risk reduction, to a high degree of statistical significance (P<0.001), in major adverse CV events (MACE) in the intent-to-treat patient population with use of Vascepa 4 grams/day as compared to placebo,” Amarin’s press release said.

Amarin’s statement crowed that the “results stand alone as positive” in comparison with other trials of fish oil products. It did not name the ASCEND trial specifically, reported last month at the European Society of Cardiology meeting, which found no outcomes benefit from 1 g/day of omega-3 fatty acids in diabetes patients. (The dosage in that trial came under criticism, however.) Other placebo-controlled fish-oil trials had also failed to demonstrate clinical benefits.

Vascepa is notable in one other respect: it was the focus of a major court battle that Amarin had waged against the FDA over the company’s efforts to talk up the product with physicians, even though marketing claims for event prevention had not gotten the agency’s approval. After Amarin won two rounds in federal court, the FDA agreed in early 2016 to modify its policies on off-label promotion (although it still hasn’t issued new regulations), while Amarin promised to complete REDUCE-IT and release its results.

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