Monday, July 5, 2010

Swallowing Statins; Hook, Line & Sinker

Swallowing Statins: Hook, Line and Sinker
NewsFlash: “Nearly two years ago, a study known as the JUPITER trial hinted at a new era in the use of statins -- one in which the cholesterol-busting drugs could be used to stave off heart-related death in many more people than just those with high cholesterol.”
This study ‘changed the treatment guidelines;’ opening the floodgates for doctors to prescribe statins, such as AstraZeneca’s Crestor, to adults who do not have high cholesterol, and begin prescribing them to children as well.
Is it surprising to anyone that a study audaciously named JUPITER (Justification for the Use of Statins in Primary Prevention), a study funded by a drug company (AstraZeneca), performed by researchers with strong financial incentives and ties to the drug company, a study in which “the sponsor collected the trial data and monitored the study sites,” concluded the use of statins in primary prevention is justified?
Both are examples of self-serving, inhumane, corporate profit-driven science.
A second look at this study (2 years and multi-billions in corporate profits later),”turned up no evidence of the ‘striking decrease in coronary heart disease complications’ reported by investigators behind JUPITER.”
No surprise there!
This isn’t a 2010 newsflash. I wrote about how flawed and corrupt the JUPITER study is back in November of 2008 (Holy JUPITER Batman!), two weeks after the study was released!
The short of it is:
  1. High blood cholesterol is not a disease. While it can be secondary to many other diseases, it is mostly associated with poor lifestyle choices: poor diet and lack of exercise.
  2. According to Framingham Heart Study, people with an age greater than 50 years have no increased overall mortality with either high or low serum cholesterol levels.”
  3. Half of all heart attacks occur in people with normal cholesterol. That said, how can anyone ‘justify’ lowering cholesterol in any group to ‘normal?’
  4. The results of JUPITER were underwhelming: “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 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.
The red flags here are numerous and ominous.
  1. Drug companies are constantly creating new diseases and marketing their drugs as cures, seeking FDA approval for ‘cradle-to-grave’ blockbuster drugs. They are getting close to that goal with statins.
  2. Corporate profit-driven science is corrupt and cannot be trusted.
3. Medical treatment guidelines are being developed by doctors/researchers with financial ties to corporations. These guidelines determine ‘standards of care’ and doctors’ prescribing habits with legal ramifications. Stated another way: drug companies are writing guidelines that require physicians to prescribe their drugs or be open to malpractice suits.
4. For us to believe that we all need to take statins, or any other drug, to stave off disease, is to believe that we all inherently suffer from some drug deficiency syndrome. It disarms us from taking personal responsibility for our health and making simple lifestyle changes that, better than any drug, can help us reclaim our health.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

That pharmaceutical companies invent diseases is a given. Matter of fact, if I were a shareholder, I would expect no less! Disease = profit, so why would they push wellness? A healthy nation cannot be the objective. Our economic model suggests growth is infinite, greed is compulsory and people are secondary. It is all connected. As individuals, we can buy the story or question it!