“Diesel-gate / Statin-gate” How Corporate Greed is Polluting our Minds, our Bodies and the Environment
Since the days of Nixon and the notorious Watergate Affair, there’s a temptation to add “GATE” to every example of corporate malfeasance. All of that said, “Statin-gate” makes the others pale into insignificance
We’ve been thinking about the pollution of medical evidence in favour of certain drugs.
For example, the Statins, which are used to reduce cholesterol levels and thereby (supposedly) reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, and other heart-related diseases and thus save millions of lives worldwide
There has been a massive push to prescribe statins to people not at significant risk of cardiovascular disease on the basis of prevention.
Here in the UK when the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) recommended a drastic increase in statin use without any evidence of benefit. “it was revealed that 8 out of the 12 panel members at NICE had financial ties to manufacturers of cholesterol-lowering drugs”.
What does this imply? Is it yet another example of “follow the money”? Do we really need statins at all?
I am by no means the first or only one who has postulated this.
Back in 2014, Dr Maryanne Demasi, who is both a medical scientist and a journalist was a presenter of ABC’s Catalyst Science Series. (The series is a bit like BBC’s Horizon program) Catalyst investigated “Statins” and their overprescription to healthy patients who had minimal underlying health problems.
The programs proved massively popular with millions of views. But after the initial airing, there ensued a massive backlash from many medical professionals claiming the documentary would put hundreds of thousands of patients’ lives at risk and alleging that the network had blood on their hands.
After negative news reports and the (predictable) backlash from medical communities, ABC accused Dr. Demasi of bias, dropped the series indefinitely, and removed the series from their website. The entire Catalyst team was subsequently sacked.
It is vitally important to know the implications of financial power in the medical community and for all those with vested interests to declare any conflicts, Thus “when drug companies sponsor their own clinical trials and withhold the raw data, the benefits of a drug are likely to be exaggerated and the harms underplayed”.
To be clear: we are not opposed to the use of statins in all cases, but we are opposed to their indiscriminate over-prescription. Risks and benefits are very individual so if you are unsure feel free to contact us and please discuss your prescription with your GP before making any changes.
Let us know your thoughts by commenting below.
Next week heralds my discussion with Aseem, where we will be discussing this and more, so follow us on social media for updates so you don’t miss anything.