Media Trumpet Dangerous Heart Drug
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"There is no justification for stopping the follow-up, even if the trial lists felt it was unethical to recruit new patients," wrote a physician from Yorkshire, United Kingdom. "Congratulations to AstraZeneca for selling the results to the uncritical lay media. I feel sorry for all the family doctors who will be pestered by patients for some time to come."
Doctors also balked at the study's ipso facto preference for a pill over lifestyle changes like diet and exercise -- including the well-known Dr. Dean Ornish of Preventive Medicine Research Institute, who noted the nation spent $20 billion on cholesterol-lowering drugs last year.
While cardiologists were soft on the study -- except one who assailed the Western "pandemic food addiction and the mirage of immortality in a bottle of pills" -- many other doctors detected behind JUPITER the disease-mongering of the sort that sold hormone-replacement therapy and Vioxx to anyone over 50.
Even a medical student wasn't impressed.
"I don't think risking the patient's life by giving him statins is a correct procedure. I would be giving him/her benefits for a disease which has not been diagnosed yet and increasing the odds of developing another disease (diabetes)," she wrote.
Martha Rosenberg is a columnist and cartoonist who frequently writes about the impact of the pharmaceutical, food and gun industries on public health. A former medical copywriter, her work has appeared in the Boston Globe, San Francisco Chronicle, Los Angeles Times and Chicago Tribune, as well as on the BBC and in the original National Lampoon.