WHO to revise statin guidance?

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Drugs and Pharmacies in Russia

Drugs – Photo courtesy World Health Organisation

After standing firm against criticism from the food industry of its recent guidance to reduce sugar intake among adults and children to 5%, and from Monsanto for its re-evaluation of glyphosate as probably carcinogenic, the World Health Organisation (WHO) seems set to attract criticism again, this time from the pharmaceutical industry. The latest edition of its two-yearly Model List of Essential Medicines is due to be published this month may contain a subtle but significant to change the WHO guidance concerning statin medication.

Since at least 2002, statins have been included in the list under the heading ‘Lipid-lowering drugs’ as follows:

“The WHO Expert Committee on the Selection and Use of Essential Medicines recognizes the value of lipid- lowering drugs in treating patients with hyperlipidaemia. HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors, often referred to as “statins”, are a family of potent and effective lipid-lowering drugs with a good tolerability profile. Several of these drugs have been shown to reduce the incidence of fatal and non-fatal myocardial infarction, stroke and mortality (all causes), as well as the need for coronary by-pass surgery. All remain very costly but may be cost effective for secondary prevention of cardiovascular disease as well as for primary prevention in some very high-risk patients.”

However, since the 2007 edition, this entry has been amended to specify Simvastatin (and other equivalent medication) as being “For use in high-risk patients.”

A source close to the preparation of the 2015 edition has revealed that this entry may now say “For use in high-risk patients with prior cardiovascular disease“. This follows recent research suggesting that the risks of patients taking statins long-term without prior heart disease outweigh the benefits. However, a spokesman for the WHO declined to comment ahead of publication.

In her interview for You must be nuts!, Dr Stephanie Seneff explained (see interview clip below) that she believed that statins are extremely dangerous and that she is very worried about the widespread disability we are likely to see from the mass prescription of statins. In 2009, she had written a paper explaining why a low fat diet and statins may cause Alzheimer’s. Here is her detailed paper explaining how statins really work, which explains why they do not really work. Dr Seneff recently co-authored a paper in Surgical Neurology International linking glyphosate to neurological diseases.

As you will know from a previous post, the UK guidance body NICE decided last year to expand the scope of people who should be prescribed statins. It has been criticised by senior doctors for over-medication and for failing to take into account the risk of adverse effects. Recent research has shown that statins may increase the risk of diabetes by 46% and Parkinson’s disease by 230%. However, NICE has been unable to provide the data on which its guidance is based and it has also emerged that no analysis of the adverse effects had been carried out. NICE was unavailable for comment on the revision of the WHO statin guidance.

Meanwhile the Statin Nation II DVD became available today.

1 April 2015 could be a historical day for critics of statin medications.


Evening update: Although the underlying references above are real, this was, sadly, only an April Fool joke. Unfortunately, there are no signs (yet) that any regulatory body has grasped how unreliably volatile ‘relative risk’ statistics are. Such statistics have been the basis for their passion for the mass prescription of statins for decades. Of course, no-one can know what the basis for NICE’s passion is since they seem unable to produce any data to back up their guidance.

Meanwhile, more and more evidence is emerging that the adverse effects of statins are more significant than any benefits, especially in primary prevention. Vascular Surgeon Professor Sherif Sultan, who attended the premiere of Statin Nation II, drew attention to two papers published in the Expert Review of Clinical Pharmacology last month:

1) How statistical deception created the appearance that statins are safe and effective in primary and secondary prevention of cardiovascular disease; and

2) Statins stimulate atherosclerosis and heart failure: pharmacological mechanisms.

Both should encourage regulators to stop recommending the mass prescription of statins to healthy people (ie for primary prevention of cardiovascular disease). Doctors too should be aware of the adverse effects of statins and report adverse drug reactions to the relevant regulatory body for all statin side effects which patients are reporting to them. In the UK, the ‘Yellow Card’ feedback mechanism was set up after the Thalidomide scandal in the 1960s. However, in the case of statins, it seems to have been stifled by the NICE targets for doctors to prescribe more statins to more older people.

At least here is a petition by statin victim Joan Wade who has been trying unsuccessfully for years to extract data about the clinical trials behind the statin guidance. She describes how, after taking Lipitor for 2 years, she “almost died from polyneuropathy and heart failure due to muscle wasting caused by the toxic/chemical poisoning. All the GPs involved in my case closed ranks and failed to report the incident under the Yellow Card Scheme to the regulatory body – the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) – to conceal the truth about what happened.” Others who have signed her petition have also stated in the comments that their adverse effects were not reported.

We have also seen how respected researchers like Dr Stephanie Seneff have been unable to get their papers published unless they delete all negative references to statins. This is not science. It is suppression of evidence.

After 2 months, our call for a formal investigation by the Commons Health Select Committee remains unanswered. So, over 50 years on from the Thalidomide scandal, the run up to the General Election on 7 May 2015 in the UK would seem to be a good moment to highlight the statin scandal. Between now and 7 May, we will be publishing the remaining excerpts from the full interviews for You must be nuts!

3 thought on “WHO to revise statin guidance?”

  1. Frances Brooks says:

    Hello; although not residing in UK; Australia actually; I too follow all pertaining to Statins safety concerns that filter through from UK; thankfully; for Australia appears somewhat out of the Global loop regarding Prescription Drugs transparency; especially Statins: I avidly await WHO 2015 Edition and its new entry stated above; I shall also be looking up Joan Wade’s Petition as nothing akin seems available in Australia; and my doctors involved with multiple Statins dispersal; in rapid succession; also closed ranks and all but openly scorned my constant appeals for cessation as adverse effects were apparent from the initial ingestion; that being: Lipitor; followed by: Crestor: followed by: Ezetrol/Crestor duo: followed by: Crestor: It be basic deduction one would think; that if severe adverse affects/effects presented from the outset; it only ethical to cease rather than unconscionably persist with multiple continuance: I was active and a rural property owner; endurance training for x-country skiing and two forms of active Income in place; all totally nullified withing first few months of all 4 Statins ingested: I am about to exchange my beloved lucrative rural property that sits inert now – as do I; for a purchased form of Disability Accommodation; for I am now so debilitated across the board; barely have the Heart energy/strength to compose this post Statins form of protracted delivery: Yours most sincerely Frances Brooks:

    1. Frances Brooks says:

      I am so determined to illuminate a concise picture of my present; post Statins self; that I draw attention to my mistake with word ” within ” that being the word intended – however; perhaps my mind was on the word ” withering ” at same time; for that depicts my state perfectly – Statins withered me: A total deconstruction and – atrophy en-masse:

      1. obhi says:

        Many thanks for sharing your experience of statins, Frances. As you have probably realised by now, the basis for prescribing statins to anyone relies heavily on junk science.

        For example, lately, studies claiming that statins prevent cancer or do not cause memory loss have been published and promoted heavily in the press to try to reassure those who refuse to take statins. The common features of such studies are that:
        – they do not compare like with like (by comparing the effects of giving statins and not giving statins to two unrelated groups of people)
        – they use ‘relative risk’ instead of ‘absolute risk to inflate the purported benefits
        – they ignore the fact that people with higher cholesterol live longer.

        Another common feature is that such studies have been either funded by statin manufacturers or carried out by people who have conflicts of interest because they have received funding from Statin manufacturers.

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