< Back to Newsroom

TV Icon and Heart Disease Survivor Regis Philbin Joins Kowa Pharmaceuticals America, Inc. to Launch National Education Campaign "Take Cholesterol to Heart"

Philbin, Kowa Pharmaceuticals America, Inc., and the American Academy of Family Physicians Foundation Encourage People to Talk Heart Health and Speak Up Before They Stop Their Statin

Use #TC2H to Join the Conversation


MONTGOMERY, AL, October 3, 2017 (PRNEWSWIRE) – Kowa Pharmaceuticals America, Inc., a company focused primarily on cardiometabolic diseases, today announced the launch of the Take Cholesterol to Heart campaign in partnership with TV legend and heart disease survivor Regis Philbin and the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) Foundation. High cholesterol affects over 100 million Americans and is a major risk factor for heart disease—the number 1 cause of death in the United States. To lower cholesterol, doctors often prescribe statins. Yet, despite the proven benefits of statin therapy in reducing heart disease, at least 50 percent or more of people on a statin medication discontinue it within one year after treatment initiation, and consistency of use decreases over time.1

Take Cholesterol to Heart encourages people to speak frankly with their doctor about their personal challenges staying on statin therapy so they can develop strategies to stick with this life-saving medication. Through the campaign, Regis Philbin, Kowa Pharmaceuticals America, Inc., and the AAFP Foundation aim to motivate people to fight heart disease with a simple message: stay on your heart-healthy routine and speak up before you stop your statin. Multiple statins are available, and by proactively having a frank discussion with their doctor, people can find a statin that fits their individualized needs.

"During my 50 plus years speaking to Americans in their living rooms, I've always talked from the heart, including about my heart disease and major heart surgeries," said Regis Philbin, Emmy award–winner, TV legend, and host of Live with Regis and Kelly, Live with Regis and Kathie Lee, and Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? "A long career and the gift of time with my friends and family have been possible because I speak with my doctor regularly and stay on the right statin for me. Through the campaign, I hope to motivate and inspire others to make a commitment to their heart health and speak to their doctor before they stop their statin medication."

To understand why people stop taking statins despite the serious risks of high cholesterol, Kowa Pharmaceuticals America, Inc., recently commissioned Harris Poll to survey over 5,000 Americans online aged 45 or older, who are diagnosed with high cholesterol and have ever taken a statin medication for it, including high-risk heart disease populations such as people with type 2 diabetes or high blood pressure and those age 65 years or older. ACTION: The Statin Survey (Understanding Patient Adherence and Concerns with Statins, and Medication Discussions with Physicians), one of the largest surveys of its kind, found:

  • There is a clear need for expanded physician-patient dialogue about statins: When patients were first prescribed a statin, only 33 percent say their healthcare provider explained why that particular statin was being prescribed. Also, when first prescribed a statin, just 21 percent of patients say that their healthcare provider told them that there are different types of statins available. Just 18 percent say they were told that their prescribed statin could potentially interact with other medications and supplements.2
  • Patients may be unaware of the risks of drug-to-drug interactions: Despite the large average number of medications (7.7) that patients currently treated with a statin are taking in addition to their statin, 76 percent who are taking another medication concurrently say they are not concerned about their statin interacting with other medications or supplements.2
  • Patients need to make sure their statin is right for them: 24 percent currently taking a statin say they have had challenges with the first statin they took, and even more significantly, 62 percent of past statin users (those not currently taking a statin) said the same.2
  • Family physicians are in a unique position to shape patients' statin experiences: 82 percent of patients were first diagnosed by their family practitioner or internist, and 70 percent currently work with their family doctor to manage their cholesterol.2

"The ACTION survey results underscore the need for patients and physicians to have an open dialogue about statin therapy and cardiovascular disease prevention. Patients should feel comfortable asking their doctor questions so they understand which statin is most appropriate for them based on their individual health profile, including current medications and their heart disease risk factors," said Craig A. Sponseller, MD, Chief Medical Officer at Kowa Pharmaceuticals America, Inc. "Statins are at the cornerstone of blood cholesterol management, and understanding how statins differ across patient profiles is critical. Along with our partners, we are proud to launch this new campaign that empowers patients to speak up and ask questions to their doctor regarding statin therapy rather than stopping treatment."

Central to Take Cholesterol to Heart are videos featuring Regis Philbin's personal heart-health story and tips to empower people to "master the cholesterol conversation" with their doctor. Other Take Cholesterol to Heart resources include:

  • Discover Your Statin Profile Quiz
  • Doctor Discussion Guide
  • Cholesterol 101
  • Heart-Healthy Recipes: Smart Substitutions for Cooking
  • ACTION: The Statin Survey Fact Sheet

As part of this national effort, the AAFP Foundation's educational consumer resource, www.FamilyDoctor.org, now includes survey results and information about the importance of discussing your individual statin profile with your doctor.

Learn more about the campaign at www.TakeCholesteroltoHeart.com and www.Facebook.com/TakeCholesteroltoHeart.

About High Cholesterol

High cholesterol is defined as total cholesterol ≥240 mg/dL based on guidelines from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). When cholesterol levels rise, thick, hard buildup can occur in the artery wall, narrowing arteries and slowing down or even blocking blood flow to the heart and brain. High cholesterol is a major risk for stroke and heart disease (the leading cause of death in America). It can be lowered through a healthy diet, exercise, and by taking a medication (like a statin) as recommended by a physician.

About the Take Cholesterol to Heart Campaign

The goal of Take Cholesterol to Heart is to increase public understanding of high cholesterol as a key risk factor for heart disease and to provide strategies that empower people to stay on their doctor-prescribed statin medication. There are multiple statins available, and by maintaining an open dialogue with their doctor, people can help ensure that they are on an individualized treatment regimen including the statin that is most appropriate for them. For more information about the campaign and resources, visit www.TakeCholesteroltoHeart.com.

About ACTION: The Statin Survey

Harris Poll conducted ACTION: The Statin Survey (Understanding Patient Adherence and Concerns with Statins, and Medication Discussions with Physicians) online on behalf of Kowa Pharmaceuticals America, Inc., from July 7 to August 4, 2017, among 5,014 US adults age 45 or older who had been diagnosed with high cholesterol and had ever used a statin to treat high cholesterol. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.

About the American Academy of Family Physicians Foundation

The Foundation serves as the philanthropic arm of the American Academy of Family Physicians. Its mission is to advance the values of Family Medicine by promoting humanitarian, educational, and scientific initiatives that improve the health of all people.

About Kowa Company, Ltd., and Kowa Pharmaceuticals America, Inc.

Kowa Company, Ltd. (Kowa) is a privately held, multinational company headquartered in Nagoya, Japan. Established in 1894, Kowa is actively engaged in various business fields, including the trading of textiles, machinery, and construction materials, in addition to the manufacturing and sales of medicines, medical equipment, and energy saving products. Kowa's pharmaceutical division is focused on research and development for cardiovascular therapeutics (dyslipidemia, type 2 diabetes, and atherosclerosis), ophthalmology, and anti-inflammatory agents.

Kowa Pharmaceuticals America, Inc., headquartered in Montgomery, AL, is focused primarily in the area of cardiometabolic therapeutics. Established in September 2008, Kowa Pharmaceuticals America focuses its efforts on the successful commercialization of its current and near-term portfolio of pharmaceutical products and business development activities. For more information about Kowa Pharmaceuticals America, visit www.kowapharma.com.


  1. Cohen JD, Brinton EA, Ito MK, Jacobson TA. Understanding statin use in America and gaps in patient education (USAGE): an internet-based survey of 10,138 current and former statin users. J Clin Lipidol. 2012;6(3):208-215.
  2. Data on File: ACTION: The Statin Survey.