Book questions doctors’ use of statins for treating high cholesterol in some patients

Posted: April 9, 2016 in Medical Industrial Complex
Tags: , , , , ,

The jury seems to be out on whether those cholesterol-lowering drugs known as statins are a good idea for everyone with high cholesterol. We address this in our book MEDICAL INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX: The $ickness Industry, Big Pharma and Suppressed Cures — in a chapter titled “Medical tests you may not need and procedures that may kill you.” (See our blog of February 6 also).

An excerpt from Medical Industrial Complex  follows:

Returning to those “unnecessary repeat cholesterol tests” we touched on at the start of this chapter, Choosing Wisely’s  summation of cholesterol testing, and the statins used in those tests, is interesting. It reports that statins are drugs that lower your cholesterol, but if you are age 75 or older and you haven’t had symptoms of heart disease, “statins may be a bad idea”.

The writer points out that many older adults have high cholesterol and their doctors usually prescribe statins to prevent heart disease even though, for older people, “there is no clear evidence” that high cholesterol leads to heart disease or death.

“In fact, some studies show the opposite—that older people with the lowest cholesterol levels actually have the highest risk of death…Statins can cause muscle problems, such as aches, pains, or weakness (and) may increase the risk of diabetes, cataracts, and damage to the liver, kidneys, and nerves”.

This is reinforced by the Reuters  report also referred to earlier. It quotes Dr. Michael Johansen, of the Ohio State University in Columbus, who says doctors may order more tests to meet or even exceed performance measures “and because they get paid for running a cholesterol panel”.

The report refers to a US study, led by Dr. Salim Virani, of the Michael E. DeBakey Veterans Affairs Medical Center, in Houston, which tracked over 35,000 people with heart disease, and found all had their LDL (‘bad’) cholesterol under control even though they hadn’t recently started taking any new cholesterol drugs.

“Over the 11 months after patients’ most recent cholesterol test, one in three underwent a repeat test. Very few of those patients – about six percent – had any changes made to their treatment regimen as a result of the second test…People with additional health problems, such as diabetes or high blood pressure, were most likely to get their cholesterol panel repeated…The average cost of a cholesterol test is about $16…That works out to almost $204,000 in early tests in their study population – not including the cost of both patients’ and doctors’ time”.

We haven’t devoted much space in this chapter to the unseemly subject of money. (Unseemly in this case because certain factions in the Medical Industrial Complex are clearly creaming it financially while many of its customers/patients are struggling to pay for, or meet, the cost of their healthcare).

However, the Reuters  report referred to above reminds us that someone is paying for every doctor’s appointment, test and screening. Throw in the cost of unnecessary tests and repeat tests (around $16 in the case of a cholesterol test) and you begin to understand the amount of money we are talking about. It’s huge!

Thankfully, as we’ve shown, the medical profession acknowledges there’s a problem, but it will be interesting to see what the powers-that-be do about it. As per usual, we suspect it will be left to us (Joe/Jo Citizen) to keep them honest.



Medical Industrial Complex  is Book #3 in The Underground Knowledge Series  and is available exclusively via Amazon:


MEDICAL INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX: The $ickness Industry, Big Pharma and Suppressed Cures (The Underground Knowledge Series Book 3)




  1. Peter Kubicek says:

    There was a report about this in the New York Times.

    • lancemorcan says:

      Yes Peter. This contentious topic has been quite widely aired in the media, but not widely enough for my liking. I’d like to see more media (and patients, too) question the doctors regarding overprescription of statins – and overprescription of a whole lot of other Big Pharma products as well! Any doctors or pharmacists out there with anything to say on this topic?

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