OBSTAT: Doctors bribed to prescribe statins in Quebec
Posted by Colin Rose on March 13, 2009
Here is a classic example of drug marketing a disguised as a “research study” funded by two drug dealers, Pfizer and Astra-Zeneca, with $1.2 million to give $100 to any doctor who starts a statin in ANY patient for no reason in particular. The goal is to find out why the patients STOP taking their expensive drugs, not why they really NEED them in the first place. With 4500 enrolled “patients” $450,000 will be spent by drug dealers on direct bribes to doctors. If each statin pill conservatively costs $2 per day, in just one year, they will have sold $3.3 million worth of drugs, an almost 400% yearly return on the investment including payments to the doctors. Over three years of the “study” the drug dealers will have sold about $10 million worth of drugs to people, the vast majority of whom will never have had a heart attack or stroke and in whom, “statins have not been shown to provide an overall health benefit.” And the cost of this study will likely be classified as “research” by the drug dealers, not a marketing expense. All perfectly legal. Isn’t the drug business wonderful?
Needless to say, the lead “investigator” in OBSTAT, Jacques LeLorier, has a long history of personal payments from multiple manufacturers of statins. Here is a list from a publication in 2004. “Dr. LeLorier reports having served as a paid speaker or consultant for the following manufacturers of statins: Merck Frosst Canada, Pfizer Canada, AstraZeneca, and Bristol-Myers Squibb.” Is it any wonder he wants to keep any- and everyone on a statin for life?
All you unemployed Canadians will be thrilled to learn that this drug marketing is being supported by $584,250 from your income taxes via the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, if and when you get a job.
If you think it is unethical and unacceptable for doctors in Quebec or anywhere to accept money from drug dealers contact the Collège des Médecins du Québec. The licensing bodies will only take action if the public complains.
Here is the justification of OBSTAT for which Lelorier et al have received $584,000 of taxpayer money at a time of large cutbacks in funding to basic research. I will translate the most interesting part of the description.
” The premature cessation of this medication [statins] that most of patients must take for life can have disastrous consequences.”
There is no reason anyone has to take a statin for life. Atherosclerosis is NOT caused by a deficiency of a statin. A non-atherogenic lifestyle is much more efficacious that statins in preventing and treating atherosclerosis. The only disastrous consequence of stopping statins is to the profits of the drug dealers.