Panaceia or Hygeia

immunize yourself against the pandemic of lifestyle diseases

Archive for July, 2008

CALIPSO

Posted by Colin Rose on July 9, 2008

Here is a good example of a “study” of statins written by a non-medically licenced employee of a statin-peddling drug company, Merck Frosst Schering, with the names of prominent “experts”, many known to be financially associated with drug companies, shown as secondary authors.

What a nice name! Reminds one of sunny Caribbean islands. Except they had to use an “I” instead of a “y”. Guess they couldn’t find an acronym that fit easily. What was done? Doctors were paid to collect data on patients to whom they prescribed statins. Results? Horrors of horrors, many of them did not reach “target” LDL (bad blood cholesterol). Conclusion? You guessed it. Not enough people are taking enough statins. Suggestion? “Strategies should be implemented to promote achievement of lipid treatment goals…”

Who sets these “targets” anyway? Again, you guessed it, the same sort of doctors as the authors listed in CALIPSO, most paid by drug dealers in one way or another. See the evidence in the US and Canada.

More than half of the subjects had no history of cardiovascular disease, so statins were being used for primary prevention and there is no overall benefit of statins this class of patient.

Note that the first author is employed by a Merck, a big seller of statins.

No attempt was made to alter high risk lifestyles (42% had abdominal obesity and 17% smoked). That’s hard work and takes a lot of time. But, why bother? Surely, after years of medical terrorism by drug dealers, everyone knows that atherosclerosis is caused by bad blood cholesterol and there is a very profitable strategy for attaining “lipid treatment goals”; pay doctors to give statins to reach those arbitrary targets as is now happening in parts of the USA.

The Canadian Journal of Cardiololgy, at least 80% of whose revenue comes from drug companies, does not require financial disclosure by authors but we have found them from another source. In the Acknowledgements those nice people at Merck and  BioMedCom, contracted to do the “study”, are thanked.

While BioMedCom claims to do “scientifically rigorous” work, CALIPSO is not science at all. It is a highly biased sample of what doctors will do if paid to report on the patients to whom they prescibe statins. There is no proof that if the patients had reached “target” they would have benefitted at all. There is no control group who did not receive statins and there is no indication of outcome at all. This is not science, but another attempt at medical terrorism to sell more drugs and any doctor who would put his name on such a study cannot claim to be an expert in “hypercholesterolemia” nor should he or she be part of any group advising other doctors like the “Working Group” in Canada.

Why would all those “experts” in the author list need to hire BioMedCom, to do this “study”? What did these doctors do to justify putting their names on the “study”? And why is an employee of Merck first author? We leave the answers to the reader’s imagination.

 

Financial Conflicts of Interest Not Reported in CALIPSO Paper

 

Posted in atherosclerosis, cardiology, cholesterol, drugs, obesity, professionalism, statins | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Drug Dealers Bribe Doctors to Prescribe Statins

Posted by Colin Rose on July 9, 2008

Here is a very important post from Dr. Catey Shanahan documenting direct bribes from drug dealers to clinics who can attract more doctors by paying them more as long as they pledge to get every patient’s LDL below 100. Without major dietary change, counseling for which takes a lot of unpaid time of the doctor, this can only be done by prescibing statins, already the most prescribed drugs in the world. When will the physician licensing bodies stop this corruption of the medical profession and forbid any financial connection of practicing doctors with any industry associated with medical practice?

Unlike Dr. Shanahan, I do blame the doctors. This sort of behavior is highly unprofessional. If no doctor went along with this highly unethical practice, contrary to the Hippocratic oath, it wouldn’t exist.

It seems insurance companies are so occupied with getting $zillions from drug dealers that they can’t be bothered to look at the data. Here are some from the ALLHAT-LLT study. In spite of a large reduction in LDL, bad blood cholesterol, there was no effect on mortality or morbidity in this group of very high risk people including diabetics, all of which the insurance company says should be give statins. Where a bar crosses the vertical line there is no significant effect in that sub-group.

And look at the baseline characteristics of the participants in ALLHAT-LLT: all overweight, 43% obese, 23% smoking, 35% diabetic. Is it not highly unethical to perform a drug study for lifestyle diseases in such a group with obviously atherogenic lifestyles BEFORE optimizing the lifestyles of all participants?

Legal Addictions

An ALLHAT-LLT type subject

—————————————————————-

Many of the comments on the NYT and other articles on the new recommendations for pediatricians and family doctors to put children on brain-damaging statins are expressing outrange that drug companies are taking over the minds of doctors. Don’t blame doctors. We’re being threatened by insurance companies. If we don’t do exactly what drug companies want, we’ll be paid less. In some cases, some of us might loose our jobs. (OKay, we do deserve some blame for not standing up for ourselves!)

I went for a job interview in Portland and in a conversation with the medical director of a large group there, I was told that if I failed to get my patients LDL levels down to 100 “someone will sit down and talk with you.” This particular group was able to offer a better starting salary than average. I had assumed that the reason they could offer more was through efficiencies. During the interview, I learned there was more to it than that. They had special arrangements with drug companies called ‘incentive programs.’ The medical director told me with absolute glee “we keep asking them [meaning drug companies] for money and they keep giving it to us.” He sounded like a kid at Christmas!

This group’s policy is to get everyone’s LDL under 100, regardless of risk factors. Stratifying risk is “too complicated.” So they make it simple for their docs. How convenient for the drug companies. I suspect that because this organization has such an aggressive general policy, the drug companies reward them handsomely for taking such a progressive position. They can offer about $50,000 more per year than doctors working in their own, independent offices.

HMSA is Hawaii’s largest medical insurance company. They are paying me to prescribe statins to people who have had heart attacks. Next year, they will pay me to prescribe statins to every single one of my diabetic patients. If I don’t I may loose about $20,000 and my entire group will be penalized financially as well.

If any of this disturbs you, please write to John Berthiaume MD, HMSA Vice President/Medical Director. 818 Keeaumoku Street, Honolulu, HI 96814. Or, you can write to the medical director of your own insurance company and let them know what you think about your payments going into programs that force doctors to write bad prescriptions or loose money!

Posted in atherosclerosis, cholesterol, diabetes, professionalism, statins | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Take the Cholesterol Pledge

Posted by Colin Rose on July 5, 2008

The AHA’s Cholesterol Pledge

Now, if you were the average red-blooded American and you had to make at least three of these choices to “lower my cholesterol” what are you likely to opt for?

Are you likely to “read food labels… and buy foods that are low in cholesterol and saturated fat”, “maintain a healthy body weight” and “participate in moderately intense physical activity”.

Or, are you more likely ” to know what my cholesterol should be”, “to have my cholesterol checked” and “take my medication as my doctor prescribed”?

What’s more, all primary prevention trials to date of cholesterol lowering with drugs (LRC-CPPTWOSCOPSASCOT-LLA) have shown no total mortality benefit and no primary prevention drug trial has ever made any serious attempt to have all participants “maintain a healthy weight”, “participate in moderately intense physical activity” or “stay tobacco free”.

The AHA, which receives major funding from drug dealers flogging cholesterol-lowering medications, considers the latter to be equivalent to the former and the latter requires absolutely no change in lifestyle by the patient. Eat anything as long as you check your blood cholesteroltake your pill. Is there any wonder there is a pandemic of obesity and Type 2 diabetes?

 

On the Take

On the Take

AHA Convention 2003. The Merck booth is next to the AHA booth. The implied endorsement of their product by the presumably altruistic AHA is worth $billions to the drug peddlers and they pay handsomely for the opportunity.

Posted in atherosclerosis, cholesterol, diet, drugs, statins | Tagged: , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Medical Terrorism and the Big Lie

Posted by Colin Rose on July 5, 2008

Medical terrorism

Medical terrorism

Medical Terrorism

Medical Terrorism

Medical Terrorism

Medical Terrorism

If you go to www.makingtheconnection.ca you find that it is a Pfizer funded site. Pfizer spent many $millions on these terrorist ads. Pfizer makes Lipitor, a statin cholesterol-lowering drug and the biggest selling drug in the world. In 2005 about $US 12 billion was sold.

These advertisements appeared in many Canadian publications over the last few years. The implication is clear: either measure your cholesterol (and take a pill to lower it if you have “dyslipidemia” ) or you will die. This is a propaganda technique known as “the big lie“. Hitler wrote in Mein Kampf, “…the magnitude of a lie always contains a certain factor of credibility, since the great masses of the people in the very bottom of their hearts tend to be corrupted rather than consciously and purposely evil, and that, therefore, in view of the primitive simplicity of their minds they more easily fall a victim to a big lie than to a little one…” Pfizer has learned well. There is NO evidence that in an otherwise healthy person measuring blood cholesterol and taking a statin to lower blood cholesterol will live any longer than not doing so. Even the Canadian Government in allowing the publication of these ads swallowed the big lie.

All primary prevention trials to date of cholesterol lowering with drugs (LRC-CPPT, WOSCOPS, ASCOT-LLA) have shown NO total mortality benefit.

Posted in atherosclerosis, cholesterol, coronary artery disease, drugs, statins | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Canadian Cardiologists Advise “healthy eating habits” but Eat Junk

Posted by Colin Rose on July 2, 2008

“Example is not the main thing in influencing others. It is the only thing.”
                  –Albert Schweitzer

In his editorial in the latest issue of the CJC (June, 2008) Dr. Lyall Higginson states, “If we intend to have a lasting impact on this country’s well-being in the future, we must have increased funding to help us reduce avoidable risk factors by zeroing in on healthy eating habits…”

With the emphasis on lifestyle advocated by the CCS one would expect that members of the CCS would be exemplary in their food choices.

Here are some photos of the “food” served CCC sponsored events included in the registration fee last year at the Canadian Cardiovascular Congress in Quebec City.

Cardiologists' Food, Pastries
Pastries

 

Cardiologists' Food, Foccacia Bread with Montreal Smoked Pastrami

Foccacia Bread with Montreal Smoked Pastrami

At the Soirée Québec the only fresh vegetables were in the decorative glass jars. Except for small decorations, there were no fresh fruit.

How can he CCS have any legitimacy in demanding “increased funding” to “reduce avoidable risk factors” unless the CCS and its members show that they practice what they preach? Or is it because seven out of eight cardiologists take a statin and think they can eat anything.

We would hope that at this year’s CCC in Toronto more care will be given to “zeroing in on healthy eating habits” when food is part of a planned event.

If the CCC Toronto organizing committee would like help in arranging healthy food selections, we would be happy to assist them myself or arrange for such assistance.

Posted in cardiology, diet, obesity, professionalism | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »