Study: statin drugs overprescribed for healthy adults

by Carolyn Thomas    @HeartSisters

A study from Johns Hopkins Hospital may be very bad news for drug companies that make statin drugs for cholesterol management.(1)  Statins, of course, are considered the darlings of Big Pharma. I’ve heard cardiologists joke (at least, I think they were joking) that statins are so fabulous at lowering our LDL (bad) cholesterol that we should be putting the drugs into our drinking water.

Virtually all heart attack survivors are now routinely prescribed statins (whether they have high cholesterol or not) and there’s a major marketing push for docs to prescribe statins as cardiovascular preventive therapy for virtually all adults, particularly to reduce blood levels of the inflammatory byproducts called C-reactive protein. But the Johns Hopkins study lead investigator Dr. Michael Blaha has this important new warning:   Continue reading “Study: statin drugs overprescribed for healthy adults”

What you need to know about your heart medications

by Carolyn Thomas   @HeartSisters

One of the most surprising additions to the daily morning routine since my heart attack has been the fistful of pills that I now take every day.

It can be a confusing mix of medications, each for a different purpose, and each with different benefits and side effects.  Here’s just a sampling of some of the more common cardiac meds that doctors prescribe for heart patients. Continue reading “What you need to know about your heart medications”

Medical ghostwriting scandal: doctors sign their names to drug company marketing lies

I had to go have a little lie-down after I read the The New York Times story this week about the scandalous practice of medical ghostwriting. Here’s how Danish researcher Dr. Peter Gøtzsche describes medical ghostwriting: “Ghostwriting occurs when someone makes substantial contributions to a manuscript without attribution or disclosure. It is considered bad publication practice in the medical sciences, and some argue it is scientific misconduct. At its extreme, medical ghostwriting involves pharmaceutical companies hiring professional writers to produce papers promoting their products –  but hiding those contributions and instead naming academic physicians or scientists as the authors.

Here’s an extreme example of extreme medical ghostwriting. The New York Times has outlined recent court documents revealing that ghostwriters paid by drug giant Wyeth Pharmaceuticals played a major role in producing 26 scientific papers published in medical journals that backed the use of hormone replacement therapy in women. That supposed medical consensus benefited Wyeth directly, as sales of its HRT drugs Premarin and Prempro soared to nearly $2 billion by 2001.

Continue reading “Medical ghostwriting scandal: doctors sign their names to drug company marketing lies”