Friday, November 14, 2008

Holy J.U.P.I.T.E.R Batman!



Holy J.U.P.I.T.E.R. Batman!

Last week the results of a "landmark" drug study ‘that could dramatically change the treatment of cardiovascular disease’ were broadcast to the world.

The study called JUPITER (Justification for the Use of Statins in Primary Prevention; an Intervention Trial Evaluation Rosuvastatin (Crestor) claims ‘new data showing that the treatment of apparently healthy patients with a statin cuts their risk of cardiovascular disease morbidity and mortality by almost half .'

Such a stunning claim is likely to 'change the (treatment) guidelines', to include treating a much wider range of apparently healthy people with satins.

This is the typical medical-pharmaceutical modus operandi: broadening the diagnosis (to include many more people); to justify drug therapy to broaden the market (to boost sales).

Back in 2001, the last time the cholesterol guidelines were changed by the Expert Panel on Detection, Evaluation, and Treatment of High Blood Cholesterol, the number of Americans who ‘needed’ to be on statins jumped from 13 to 36 million overnight (Overdo$ed America: ch 9). What a boon to the pharmaceutical makers! The drug industry's statin sales surpassed $15 billion last year. Now, they are working hard to dramatically expand on that.

It is not surprising that 9 of the 14 'experts' on that panel had strong ties to the drug companies that make statins. Dr. Paul Ridker, who presented JUPITER, is the co-inventor of the CRP test recommended in this study. He has also worked as a consultant and received research money from AstraZeneca, the pharmaceutical company that sponsored the study and manufactures the statin Crestor.

Now, let’s look at J.U.P.I.T.E.R.

But, before we do, it is important to understand the concept of absolute verses relative risk. After all, if the claim is that statins lower the risk by almost half, isn’t it of paramount importance to know what that risk really is?

So…

Would you take a drug every day for 2 years if it…..?
(Selling Sickness p.84)

A. Lowered your risk of having, and/or dying from, a heart attack by 50%?
B. Lowered your risk of having, and/or dying from, a heart attack by 1%
C. Possibly would prevent 1 person in 100 from having, and/or dying from, a heart attack, but there is no way of knowing who that person is or, if it is you?

All the above are different ways of expressing the same thing.

If the risk of having, and/or dying from, a heart attack is only 2% and taking statins lowers the risk to only 1%...

A. a change from 2% to 1% represents a relative decrease in risk of 50%
B. a change from 2% to 1% represents an absolute decrease of only 1%
C. a change of 1% represents 1 in 100.

That is exactly what the JUPITER statistics reveal: 'the proportion of patients with hard cardiac events—cardiovascular death, MI, and stroke-- was reduced from 1.8% in the placebo (group) to 0.9% in the statin group. That represents a relative decrease of 50% but an absolute reduction of only 0.9%.'

Stated another way; 'the data actually means that 120 people would need to take Crestor daily for 2 years to (possibly) prevent 1 heart attack or stroke. At a cost of $3.45 a day, that's $300,000 for Big Pharma to (possibly) prevent one problem.'

You see, the science is corrupt and should not be trusted.

Drug manufacturers either own, or hugely influence, the researchers, the doctors, the most prestigious medical journals, the legislators, the FDA, the guideline panels of experts, the media broadcast news and advertising and the so-called consumer advocacy groups, like the American Heart Association, etc (Overdo$ed America: ch 7).

They ask questions like: 'Does this drug lower cholesterol?' And then they proceed with studies to justify the answer they want. Remember, they even named the study JUPITER; JUSTIFICATION for the Use of Satins!

They manipulate us and the numbers. They abuse our fear and our trust and then they use mathematical relative values (a 50% decrease) to sell the benefits of a drug and the absolute values (1% chance) to downplay the risks associated with taking the drug itself.

What you don’t know can hurt, or even kill, you. Cholesterol is not the problem.

The recent reports about JUPITER even state: 'doctors have long been mystified by the fact that about half of heart attacks occur in patients with normal cholesterol levels.'

That means nothing less than: having normal cholesterol is as ‘dangerous,’ and as much of a ‘risk factor’ of having a heart attack as is having high cholesterol.

So, what science can possibly support the lowering of cholesterol to ‘normal’ if the risk is 50/50?

Answer: NONE!



3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Re: Your JUPITER page:
Marvellous! Super write-up. Concise and to the point. (I write as one who has had my family life unretrievably damaged by prescribed statins.)

MPP

Anonymous said...

DocMay,

My first visit to your "blog" has set me back a bit in my chair. The many informative articles you have written are sadly not being exposed to the masses. And they deserve to be read. This "Jupiter" article really opens ones eyes to the REAL mathematics ($$) behind not only our Health Care Industry, but the other 5/6th's of our economy as well. Deception is the key the Monster (aka: Corporate America) uses to open the doors to unbalanced wealth in this country. Keep up the good work! And find ways to get the message out to the people. Harvard, Yale, and other prestigious schools surely have blogs that get incredible traffic. Perhaps there you may find a medium for your good willed work?
Good Day Sir

jamie said...

fascinating use/misuse of statistics