Tag Archives: lipitor

A (small) step in the right direction

No more letting industry help pay for developing medical guidelines. Restrictions on consulting deals. And no more pens with drug company names or other swag at conferences.

These are part of a new ethics code that dozens of leading medical groups announced Wednesday, aimed at limiting the influence that drug and device makers have over patient care.

It’s the most sweeping move ever taken by the Council of Medical Specialty Societies to curb conflict of interest — a growing concern as private industry bankrolls a greater share of medical research.

The council includes 32 medical societies with 650,000 members, from neurologists and obstetricians to family doctors and pediatricians. They include the American College of Physicians, the American College of Cardiology and the American Society of Clinical Oncology, the largest group of cancer specialists in the world.

“We take very seriously the trust that is placed in us by physicians and patients to be authoritative, independent voices in cancer care,” ASCO’s chief, Dr. Allen Lichter, said in a statement. He led the panel that developed the code.

One of its most controversial rules: requiring top leaders of any medical society and top editors of its journals to have no consulting deals or financial ties to industry.

“When a physician stands up to represent medicine and his or her specialty, there shouldn’t be any confusion as to who they’re speaking for,” said Dr. Norman Kahn, the council’s chief executive and a former rural medicine doctor from California.

The code requires groups to:

  • Publicly post any industry support the group receives, such as money for continuing education sessions.
  • Decline industry funding for developing medical practice guidelines, such as who should get a drug, a test or treatment. Require that most members of a guidelines panel be free of financial ties to industry.
  • Disclose any financial ties that leaders and board members have with companies.
  • Ban company or product names and logos from pens, bags and other giveaways at conferences.

Fourteen groups in the council, including ASCO and the College of Physicians, have already adopted the code. Most of the rest plan to by the end of the year.

Last year, leading medical journals agreed to use a uniform conflict-of-interest disclosure form for researchers publishing in their journals. The new ethics code the council is adopting should make financial ties more transparent to patients and breed professionalism and trust in doctors, Kahn said.

Via: USA Today and the Associated Press.  See Full Article

Dr. Court’s Comments

I certainly think this is a step in the right direction.  Pharmaceutical companies control medicine completely now.  They control the treatments, the research, the education and worst of all, your options.  Their reach is as far as you can possibly imagine.

Treatments that are natural, effective and inexspensive get passed over because Big Pharma wants it that way. They make sure to “educate” (indoctrinate is more like it) as many doctors as possible that any natural remedy is quackery.

Medical guidelines are written by doctors with significant ties to Big Pharma and the insurance companies reimburse treatments based on these guidelines.  Let’s use an example to illustrate:

You enter your doctor’s office and he is holding your recent blood test in his hand.  He tells you that your cholesterol is high and you need to start Lipitor right away.  You ask you doctor if there are any other treatment options, but because your doctor has just been to a conference sponsored by Pfizer (the maker of Lipitor) he tells you that there are no better options for you.  He is telling you this because he just learned that “the research” (done by Pfizer) says Lipitor is the most effective treatment for high cholesterol and that it’s the only medication studied that shows it reduces heart attack and stroke risk.  He was also told that diet and exercise only reduce cholesterol by 10%-15% so you shouldn’t bother because you need to lower it more than that.  All these “facts” he is quoting you are from research Pfizer has conducted on its own product.  And if this weren’t enough, your insurance company will pay the most for Lipitor because the guidelines written for cholesterol management were written by a team of 10 physicians, 4 of which had financial ties to Pfizer.

What he didn’t learn at his conference is that things like diet and exercise are very effective tools for reducing cholesterol when applied correctly.  Low carbohydrate is the way to go on that one.  He also did not mention that things like red yeast rice, niacin and plant sterols are very effective ways to reduce cholesterol without resorting to a poisonous chemical like Lipitor.  These things were not mentioned at his conference because alternatives would hurt overall sales.  By the way, your insurance company will reimburse you exactly $0 for anything that isn’t a drug because they don’t have billions of pharmaceutical dollars behind them.  They also won’t pay for you to go to the gym and actually get healthy.

Hopefully these new guidelines will have an effect, but because they are not federal acts I doubt they will have any real impact.  Your best bet is to be your own advocate.  If you don’t want to take a drug, find out from a nutritionally trained physician what you can do.  If you’re concerned about the effectiveness the fix is simple – do objective testing like blood work to see if what you are doing is working.  I think you’ll be surprised to find out just how effective these natural alternatives are.

Leave a comment

Filed under Big Pharma

Drugs shown to have no benefit (and some risks) for diabetics

The results of a new study in diabetics has shown that adding drugs to drive blood pressure and blood-fats lower than current targets did not prevent heart problems, and in some cases caused harmful side effects.  This study was launched 10 years ago by the federal government to see if lowering blood sugar, blood fats or blood pressure would reduce heart attacks and strokes in diabetics.  The results showed that the drugs had no effect on reducing incidence of heart attack or stroke and for some caused serious side effects.

The results were called ‘disappointing’ but from my perspective this couldn’t be better news.  Had this study had positive outcomes it would have given another reason why every diabetic should be on more drugs to ‘protect their hearts.’

The studies were presented Sunday at an American College of Cardiology conference and published on the Internet by the New England Journal of Medicine.

They involved people with Type 2 diabetes — the most common form and the one rising because of the obesity epidemic. Diabetics have more than double the risk of dying of heart attacks or strokes than people without the disease.

The first piece of the study — about blood sugar — was stopped two years ago, when researchers saw more instead of less risk with that approach.

For the blood-fat study, researchers led by Columbia University’s Dr. Henry Ginsburg recruited more than 5,500 diabetics who also had another health risk, such as high blood pressure or cholesterol.

All were given a statin — cholesterol-lowering pills sold as Lipitor and Zocor.  Half also were given Abbott Laboratories’ blockbuster drug, TriCor; the rest got dummy pills. TriCor is a fibrate, a drug that lowers blood fats called trigylcerides while boosting “good” cholesterol.

Nearly five years later, the groups had similar rates of heart attacks and strokes.

The blood-pressure part of the study was led by Dr. William Cushman, preventive medicine chief at Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Memphis, Tennessee. About 4,700 diabetics were treated with various medicines to keep their systolic blood pressure — the top number — either below 140 or below 120.

The intense treatment did not reduce the number of heart attacks, although it prevented more strokes, a less common problem. Side effects were greater with the intense treatment.  (Excerpt from usatoday.com)

The question raised in the article I read was ‘what should diabetics do then?’  First of all, they ask this question like medication is the only answer for these people.  Many millions of people have type II diabetes or are on their way to having it.  The first thing that should be done is avoid the disease in the first place.  Type II diabetes is not a disease in the classic sense.  It is no more a disease than obesity is a disease.  It can be avoided with a healthy lifestyle.  Proper nutrition should be a class in school just like science or math.  The fact that children learn more about the planet Mars than they do about how to truly eat nutritiously is ridiculous. I am not suggesting the sciences are not important, but I bet most kids couldn’t tell you the difference between a carbohydrate, a fat and a protein other than ‘fat is bad for you’ (which is wrong anyway).  True nutrition in which carbohydrates are emphasized less and healthy fats are emphasized more would go along way to reducing the health care crisis in this country.  The low fat paradigm will not work because it is inconsistent with human physiology.

I am not so naive to think that if children were educated from a young age about health and nutrition that we could prevent every case of type II diabetes.  With that said ‘what do diabetics do then?’  They change their lifestyles immediately upon diagnosis. It’s as simple as that.  I have many patients who have been diagnosed with type II diabetes and we routinely improve their outcomes with diet and supplementation.  The solution is simple; change the diet to a low carbohydrate diet, increase exercise and support them with supplementation designed to increase insulin sensitivity.  The trick is not to lower blood sugar intensely (as this study’s goal was) it is to change their hormonal picture.  While on our program blood sugar levels do decrease because of the diet but the real change is insulin regulation.

In the article I read the answer to the question ‘what do diabetics do?’ was answered by what most would consider a prominent physician.  He said:

Focus on healthy diets and lifestyles, and take tried-and-true medicines that doctors recommend now to control health risks, said several experts, including Dr. Clyde Yancy, a Baylor University cardiologist and president of the American Heart Association.

I agree totally with the first part of the statement although I am sure the “diet” he is referring to is of the low fat variety which will not work for diabetics.  Diabetes is a disease (an I use ‘disease’ lightly) of carbohydrate metabolism.  Eating a low fat diet forces one to eat more carbohydrates.  Where is the logic in that!?

The second part of the statement is completely and totally ridiculous.  He tells us we should use “tried-and-true medicines that doctors recommend now to control health risks.”  The medications used in this study are the very drugs that almost every medical physician in this country would call “tried and true ways” to reduce cardiovascular disease.  Find me a medical physician who has any answer besides medication Lipitor or Zocor for lowering cholesterol and I’ll be surprised.  They did not make mention of the specific drugs they used to lower blood sugar or blood pressure but I am sure they are the common ones I see everyday in practice.  A statement like the one from Dr. Yancy simply doesn’t make sense in the context of what was studied.

Type II diabetes is a disease almost exclusively brought on by years of dietary indiscretions.  The fix is not drugs and this study shows that.  The fix is diet and lifestyle modification in which people significantly reduce carbohydrate consumption and begin to exercise.  Doing this improves health outcomes and has no side effect to worry about.  Depending on chemicals to do the job for you won’t work.

Leave a comment

Filed under Diet, Public Health

1 in 5 teens has cholesterol problems. Now what? – CNN.com

A recent study has concluded that 1 in 5 teens has cholesterol problems.  This was defined at either low HDLs (good cholesterol), high LDL (bad cholesterol) or high triglycerides.  Of course they treatment of choice is statins like lipitor “when diet and exercise” are not enough.  I have two problems with this.

1. I work with hundreds of people who have high cholesterol and rarely are they counseled on diet and exercise before told they must be on a statin type medication.  It is as if traditional medicine only sees the drugs as solutions.  If they are told about diet, they are told to eat a low fat diet which is incorrect.  Studies do not support that this is a more effective way of controlling blood lipids over a low carbohydrate diet.  What makes us think it will be any different for children?

2. Statin medications have not been tested for safety in children.  The list of side effects is very long for statins and subjecting children as young as 8 to these medications is potentially dangerous and could slow their growth.

What should happen is that people need to be taught to eat properly and exercise correctly.  Click below for the entire story from CNN.com.

via CDC: 1 in 5 teens has cholesterol problems. Now what? – CNN.com.

1 Comment

Filed under Big Pharma, Diet, Public Health