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By Motley Fool Staff
June 16, 2003

Pfizer's (NYSE: PFE) cholesterol-fighting drug Lipitor does so well in helping patients with diabetes that a four-year trial has been halted so all the participants can receive the medicine.

As the top-selling drug in the world, Lipitor is already a huge success, but it continues to show benefits in trials. The most recent involved 2,800 diabetic patients, and those taking Lipitor had "fewer heart attacks, strokes and surgical procedures compared to patients who received placebo." The final results are not yet public.

Eight months ago, another trial was halted early when patients with normal or only slightly elevated cholesterol levels who took Lipitor had fewer heart attacks than those on placebo.

The news of Lipitor's effectiveness for diabetics comes at a time when the World Health Organization predicts the number of diabetes cases will more than double by the year 2030. According to Reuters, the WHO says the vast majority will suffer from the type-2 kind studied in the Pfizer trial, which is "characterized by obesity and inability to use insulin properly."

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