You don’t have to be a major geek to get the title, but it helps. In Star Trek II, there is a great scene where a Starfleet hopeful fails a simulation. It is legend that the only person to have ever succeeded in the scenario is, of course, our hero, James Tiberius Kirk.
How did he beat it? SPOILER ALERT (OK not really, it’s a decades old movie.) He broke into the simulator and changed the program.
Clever Kirk. Very clever as always.
Apparently this is all you need to do to sell more drugs in the United States. Change the program.
STATINS STATINS EVERYWHERE
If you haven’t heard of statin drugs by now, get out from under the rock you’re calling a home and pay attention. There is a good chance your doctor will be pushing them on you. There are actually people who have advocated putting them in the water supply, like flouride. Thankfully that is not being taken as a serious proposal yet. Not as long as they are this profitable.
Oh, the medical establishment loves their statin drugs. They change numbers on a chart that keep you from being sued. Whether or not these numbers affect your real health, who cares?
And now, the AHA (you know that fantastic reputable organization that gives its seal of approval to all the processed food companies that pony up enough money) has simply changed their recommendations once again, so that more people qualify for a statin prescription.
Poof! Change the rules, create drug sales. Hey it works for poverty, right? Set the poverty line at a certain rate and people suddenly move in or out of it based on your statistic.
They’ve already done it with blood pressure medication. This is old news.
Now they’re changing the standard to “qualify” more people for statin medication.
The worst part is, the evidence is mounting that not only are statins unnecessary, they are doing more harm than good. They artificially lower your blood cholesterol with the stated goal of preventing heart attacks. Yet check out this analysis of the actual data and ask yourself whether that tiny difference in risk is worth it?
Better yet, read Jimmy Moore’s latest book, Cholesterol Clarity: What the HDL is wrong with my numbers?
Statin drugs are an amazing example of parking lot science. Parking lot science is like losing your keys in a parking lot, then only looking around under the light because you can see there. Doesn’t matter if your keys are actually in a dark spot, just go where you can see. Statins are the shining example of what is wrong with the pharmaceutical industry and its relationship to actual medicine.
Pharmaceutical developers are amazing at what they do. They are chemists worthy of their own show, if America is ready for a show about chemists.
They do their job well. Medical establishment says: we want a drug that makes this number into that number. And pharmaceutical engineers do it. Following orders. Market economics. I get it. I remember a history teacher in high school who cited this quote over and over, but I cannot remember the original source. It was a coca grower in South America, whose product was refined into cocaine. He said “hey if Americans want to start shoving bananas up their noses, I’ll grow bananas.”
So again, there is a lot of talent in the pharmaceutical industry. But they are only seeking answers that they’ve been told to look for.
Who stops to ask why this number should be that number? Not big pharma. Not their job. But when they succeed and they have a best seller, it’s a bit late to ask whether they should have gone down that road. We have a solution now, so you best get behind the problem.
I’m not an expert on anything, let alone on the biochemistry of statin drugs. But I have come to trust some who are.
Watch $tatin Nation. Do it now. I’ll loan you my DVD if you need it. It may or may not always be online for free right here. It is also downloadable online from the filmmakers. Or check out the first 13 minutes on youtube for a taste. Right now they are gearing up for Statin Nation 2 through crowdsource fundraising. It’s not like you can get lots of corporate sponsors with a message of don’t buy unnecessary drugs.
One more time people: CHOLESTEROL IS NOT EVIL!!! INFLAMMATION IS! Cholesterol acts as a healing agent in damaged blood vessels. It is an essential part of your brain. Your body makes it. It shows up in your arteries after the damage is done. It does not clog your arteries from eating it. Blaming cholesterol for atherosclerosis is like blaming firefighters for fires.
You know, everyone wants to debate the politics of single payer in the US, and whether the website debacle means it’s all worthless, and I just really don’t have enough energy for the politics of that question. I’m much more interested in why the costs are high, what costs are needed, and what financial interests drive diagnoses and treatments.
I think it’s clear. Drugs sell. They sell well. When it comes to the big sellers of the drug industry, statins are tops. No one is interested in you taking less of their product, only more.
Jesse: Are you in the drug business or the money business?
Walt: I’m in the EMPIRE business.