No one wants to have familial hypercholesterolemia—heterozygous (HeFH) OR homozygous (HoFH). Why? It’s obvious. Having too much “bad cholesterol” in your system creates all sorts of serious health issues.
But if you have to have a genetic disease, having one that shares characteristics of a disease that’s common in the general population can be a plus.
Because large numbers of people with high LDL equals big money opportunities for pharmaceutical companies. Every company wants to create THE drug that will knock down your neighbor’s chances of having a heart attack—even if he is an over-eating, inactive, hot-tempered jerk.
What benefits that obnoxious slob, may just benefit people living with HeFH and HoFH.
For example, in late summer 2015, two injections to lower cholesterol were approved by the FDA: Praluent and Repatha. Amgen, the company that developed and is marketing Repatha, also purchased another drug-developing company Dezima. One of the main reasons for the purchase was TA-8995, an oral, once-daily CETP inhibitor that Dezima developed for the high cholesterol market.
Pharmaceutical companies know that medicines aimed at reducing cholesterol for FH stand a chance of being used “off label” by physicians trying to lower cholesterol in their non-FH patients. That’s big business—and potentially good news for the FH community.