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Statin drugs

Cardiologists on Big Pharma kickbacks release new statin drug guidelines in effort to double prescriptions

Tuesday, November 19, 2013 by: Ethan A. Huff, staff writer
Tags: statin drugs, Big Pharma, cardiologist kickbacks


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(NaturalNews) The American College of Cardiology (ACC) and the American Heart Association (AHA) have released new guidelines to address escalating rates of heart attack and stroke among adult populations. But rather than encourage people to stop eating refined sugars and processed flours, two of the biggest culprits responsible for high cholesterol and atherosclerosis, these Big Pharma-backed groups are pushing to more than double the number of people currently taking statin drugs.

The new plan aims to add some 35 million more people to the ranks of patients taking cholesterol-lowering drugs, which would bring the overall number to about 70 million. The way it will do this is by broadening the scope of who is considered "at-risk" to include healthy people that do not even currently have any markers of heart disease. The thought is that these people could develop heart problems later on down the road, so loading them up with drugs now might help lower that risk.

But the plan is being driven behind the scenes by pharmaceutical companies trying to expand their market share, not by science working in the interest of public health. The drug industry has been pushing heavily in recent years to get more people on statin drugs, and this latest move by the ACC and AHA provides convenient cover for the industry's plans. If successful, the roughly $21 billion annual market for statin drugs will double to more than $42 billion.

"Physicians who have focused on reducing the LDL cholesterol of patients who are at greatest risk of a heart attack will now be urged to refocus their efforts on using statin therapy on a wider range of at-risk patients, many of them still relatively healthy, to drive down their odds of a heart attack or stroke," writes Melissa Healy for the Los Angeles Times.

"The new guidelines distinguish between patients who should get high-dose statin therapy and those who can take a lower dose less likely to cause side effects, such as muscle fatigue," she adds. "They also instruct physicians to discontinue their efforts to meet strict targets for LDL, the 'bad' cholesterol that's most closely linked to disease risk."

ACC, AHA ignore serious side effects of statins, urge people with virtually no risk of heart disease to take them

The biggest elephant in the room, however, and the aspect of the new guidelines that completely blows Big Pharma's cover is the fact that the ACC and AHA deliberately ignored the side effects of statins. In making these new recommendations, the two groups are acting as though there are no risks associated with statin drug use, even though known side effects include blood sugar issues, stroke, rhabdomyolysis and even heart disease.

Prevention is the best way to avoid heart disease, and this involves eating right and steering clear of certain offending foods. But neither the ACC nor the AHA endorse this approach at all, instead recommending that healthy people simply sign up for drug treatment. Even low-risk individuals, or those with a 7.5 percent chance of suffering a stroke or heart attack in the next 10 years, are being encouraged to take low-dose statins, which is completely outrageous.

"The group that wrote the recommendations was not sufficiently free of conflicts of interest; several of the experts on the panel have recent or current financial ties to drug makers," write John D. Abramson and Rita F. Redberg for The New York Times about the new guidelines. "In addition, both the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology, while nonprofit entities, are heavily supported by drug companies."

Sources for this article include:

http://www.latimes.com

http://www.washingtonpost.com

http://www.nytimes.com

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