Saturday, May 5, 2012

Barbara Roberts, "The Truth About Statins"

I recently had the privilege of attending the very important conference in Boston called Avoiding Avoidable Care (about how to both improve quality and reduce costs by avoiding the use of nenbeneficial tests and treatments), and there met Dr. Barbara H. Roberts, a cardiologist who heads the Women's Cardiac Center at Miriam Hospital in Providence, RI. I therefore learned about her new book, The Truth About Statins: Risks and Alternatives to Cholesterol-Lowering Drugs (New York: Pocket Books, 2012).

I've not yet had time to read the entire book but zeroed in first on Chapter 7, which is titled, "Big Pharma, the FDA, and the Medical Profession: An Unholy, Very Lucrative Alliance" (for reasons readers of this blog can imagine). Dr. Roberts does a nice job of explaining her own personal experiences with the pharmaceutical industry (she did sponsored talks for a while until the managers decided she was actually telling the audience about the science rather than peddling drugs), and especially in revealing the extent to which organizations in her field, especially the American Heart Association, are in bed with industry and rolling in industry cash--and how that influences the supposedly objective guidelines and food approvals they issue.

I also reviewed what Dr. Roberts had to say about the JUPITER trial, about which I blogged extensively (for a summary see Her analysis to my inexpert eye is both detailed and cogent.

In short this appears to be a great book for both physicians and patients about how statins for cholesterol have been way too aggressively marketed, and why old-fashioned lifestyle changes are probably a more potent and certainly safer way to reduce one's risk of heart disease.


Judy B said...

There have been quite a few doctors who have written articles and books on the dangers of statins and the lack of benefit from this class of drugs. Unfortunately, there has been silence from mainstream medicine (the anechoic effect). One hopes that the medical profession will wake up soon to the harm they are doing with these drugs...

Thank you for being a doctor who is fully awake!

Jan Henderson said...

JAMA has a recent article on the subject that makes a strong case against statins for primary prevention: “Healthy Men Should Not Take Statins” It mentions that, according to information in the Cochrane database, of all the clinical trials that concluded there was positive evidence for statins, only one was not sponsored by pharma.

Of course, for reasons of balance (or perhaps in the interests of retaining its advertisers), this JAMA viewpoint is accompanied by another piece that makes the opposite case. Still, this is progress.

marge said...

"Big Pharma, the FDA, and the Medical Profession: An Unholy, Very Lucrative Alliance" I do believe in this one. If they don't have alliance I guess statin drugs won't be in the market today.