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Cholesterol Support
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Why are drugs sometimes over-prescribed? This video may help explain.

There are a number of us following this site that have high cholesterol but who do not have cardiovascular disease. For this group, it is normal for doctors to prescribed statins because doctors are taught it’s the best thing for the patient. However, a lingering doubt for many of us, is whether statins are being over-prescribed to this group of otherwise healthy people. And this creates a quandary for us. Why would doctors want to over prescribe statins? Surely they must have our best interest at heart, surely they know more than we do, and maybe we as patients should listen to their experience and training.

I came across this video which I think helps provide some of the answers. It’s from the author of a book called ‘Confessions of an Rx Drug Pusher’. This lady spent 15 years with large drug companies including working with doctors. It helps explain the marketing power of the large drug corporations and how they selectively control the flow of information to doctors . Whilst this video is not about statins specifically, it does provide an insight to us in how medications are promoted. Of course, everyone has their own view, as does this lady, so we need to form our own conclusions. Nevertheless, I think it’s a very worthwhile video to watch and to help us to gain a broader perspective.

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Frank, I take it from your e-mail address in other posts that you are posting from Australia. Here in the UK a lot of prescription drugs under the NHS are controlled and regulated, so it may be less of a concern than in, say the US. Where the video was made.

nice.org.uk/aboutnice/whatw...

Check this out for more info. I'd be interested to know what safeguards are in place in Australian Healthcare.

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Hi David

There is much evidence of corruption in the pharmceutical industry here in UK....Look out for books written by Phillip Day...."Why we're dying to know the truth; Why we're still dying to know the truth; Health wars,. and more. Scarey stuff.

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Hi David, Thank you and yes I agree with you 100%. This is an American viewpoint and the UK has a better health system with more checks and balances. My reason for posting is that I think some of the marketing strategies by the big drug companies do manage to permeate the healthcare systems in many English speaking countries including Australia and the UK, Even some of the British and European drug multinationals are known for their over-zealous product promotion from time to time. Importantly, you raise a very good point and I would like anyone viewing this video to note that it is very American, but there may be some elements of the global drug company practices that we need to be aware of to protect ourselves. David thanks again for highlighting this so that everyone understands the intent. Best, Frank

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Thanks Frank for yet another illuminating video, but from 2005.....these facts have been known for years and still nothing is done. I despair.

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Hi Frank,

It is with our best interest at heart that they prescribe statins. They don't have a crystal ball to tell them if our high cholesterol would lead to CVD or not. But they do know that statins reduce our risk of CVD and death from CVD by 19%.

All they can do is to play safe and not gamble with our lives.

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Windrider. Unfortunately I have to disagree with your figure of 19% which is a relative number and not an absolute number so it can be misleading to most of the readers on this site. My post above is for those who have high cholesterol but who do not have cardiovascular disease. I am one of those people and I do not take any statins or any other drugs even though my cholesterol is 11 and I am 62 years old and with FH. I have studied cholesterol for over 15 years and published a book about cholesterol and so I understand what the risks of taking statins, and not taking statins. There is actually a simpler way to look at the benefits of statins. We know that statistically they do (on average) add an extra 2 months to our lives. In my case, I would be quite happy to live statin-free to say 90 years of age rather than get to 90.2 years by taking statins. On the other hand, someone else might prefer to take statin medications for 40-50 years and accept any side effects and live to 90 years plus the extra 2 months. Its a personal choice.

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I follow my twin sister's reactions to statins closely......it could be me one day. She was prescribed statins some months ago and the deterioration in her energy levels and brain function was alarming. She knew!.....and after following this site decided to try it without the statins. She returned to her 'normal' self within days. For me, that speaks volumes. I have no medical knowledge and no axe to grind but I know, given the choice, I would live my life as best I could for as long as I'm allowed rather than become so debilitated ( and cause such concern to my family) for potentially a little longer!!

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Thank you for another informative video.

Ben Goldacre's book "Bad Pharma: how drug companies mislead doctors and harm patients" (UK) looks at statins, and other drugs. Atorvastatin and simvastatin are widely used in the UK, but there have been no trials to determine if one works better than the other, or if one poses more risk than the other. Bad science and possibly bad for patients.

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It is purely and simply down to cost. A statin tablet is worth pennies, the treatment for heart disease, stroke, etc, runs into thousands. The facts of the side effects of statins and their dubious help to alleviate any health problems that are in constant discussion is neither here nor there. The money men in the NHS just see them as a means to an end. It could help some therefore save money. That is one of the reasons why there is still the suggested decision to give ALL patients over 50 on GPs lists statins, irrespective of whether or not they need them. Needless to say I won't be one of them! The side effects do not cost money just a horrendous affect on quality of life, not life threatening. That is not something I would like to go through just to save the NHS the cost of any future treatment I may, or may not, need.

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patch14. You have made an extremely interesting observation and one that more followers of this site should be aware of. I had always assumed that the over-prescribing of drugs was largely related to over-zealous marketing by the drug manufacturers. It never occurred to me that we have another group of people (ie those within the health system) that see drugs as a means to reducing health cost. Thank you.

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This is very interesting - do you have a link to be able to pass this on. I got a book at Christmas which I had actually requested which is an English study about drugs and there effects which has a common theme with this. I know some drugs are simply a money making racket.

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suggest you puchase dr vernon colmans book ' How To Stop Your Doctor Killing You' found this on amazon scary but very useful

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