A reason to carp

Stan Geiger finds something, um, fishy:

The latest drug advertising craze has to do with a prescription fish oil called Lovaza. Really? You can get a patent on something found naturally in fish? Really?!

I did some quick Google reading on the drug. I found one site that said the pills can cost up to $2 each, and are prescribed at 4 pills a day. That comes to $240 a month. And that cost doesn’t include the constant monitoring by a doctor. The list of side effects of such heavy doses of fish oil is lengthy.

I checked the nearest bottle of 1000-mg fish-oil softgels (about 20 cents per), and they don’t pack quite the same punch: EPA plus DHA content was 300 mg, versus 870 mg for Lovaza. And Lovaza, as befits an actual prescription drug, is presumably produced to higher standards than a mere dietary supplement.

As for that patent, it runs out next month, which suggests a last-minute marketing blitz before the inevitable generics show up.

Now snake oil, it never seems to go down in price.


  1. Marcel »

    2 May 2010 · 3:57 pm

    What doctor among us, if his patient asks for fish oil, would give him snake oil instead?

  2. McGehee »

    2 May 2010 · 11:09 pm

    Silly me — when I want fish oil I just eat fish.

  3. fillyjonk »

    3 May 2010 · 1:25 pm

    I’d almost be willing to pay for a prescription if it were guaranteed that I wasn’t tasting fish for hours after taking the capsules.

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