If you are taking a statin or know someone who is (that should cover just about everyone), I encourage you to read this article by Dr. Malcolm Kendrick, author of The Great Cholesterol Con. Dr. Kendrick eloquently details how misleading and outright deceiving the media can be reporting on the benefits of medications. In this case, we are talking about cholesterol medications known as statins.
During the press release of the Heart Protection Study the media reported:
‘In this trial, 10 thousand people were on a statin. If now, an extra 10 million high-risk people worldwide go onto statin treatment, this would save about 50,000 lives each year – that’s a thousand a week.
Now that’s a pretty bold and brash statement to make – saving a thousand lives a week! If this is accurate, count me in as a statin advocate.
Unfortunately, this is not what the study showed. According to Dr. Kendrick a more accurate report of the study’s results looks like this:
- If 100 high-risk people took a statin for five years, 98.2 would show no benefit at all—but they would all be exposed to significant side effects and complications, including muscle damage, fatigue, diabetes, and even dementia.
- The 1.8 people that may benefit would live an average of 6 months (and a maximum of one year) longer than those that didn’t take the statin.
Dr. Kendrick goes on to correctly point out that making a claim that any medication actually “saves lives” is irresponsible. No intervention can actually prevent death. The best we can hope for is that a given treatment may delay death by a certain amount. In this study 98.2% showed no benefit, no life extension what so ever, and the 1.8% that may benefit would live only 6 months longer on average. This is a much different picture than the pharmaceutical-freindly media painted in the press release.
For more information on managing cholesterol naturally see this series.