Two years ago Fiona Godlee, the editor of British Medical Journal send a letter to Rory Collins, head of the Cholesterol Treatment Trials (CTT) Collaboration, in which she asked him to present the raw data from the 27 statin trials that have been used by the Cochrane group as evidence for treating healthy people with statins. The reason was that Collins had asked BMJ to retract two articles the authors of which had pointed out that 18-20% of statin-treated healthy individuals get adverse effects, and according to Collins adverse effects from statin treatment are very rare.
In his answer to Godlee Collins admitted that ”the outcome data obtained on individual patients in the trials that have contributed to the CTT meta-analyses are currently limited to cause-specific mortality, major vascular events and site-specific cancers” and he promised ”to seek detailed data on all adverse effects”-
Today more than two years have passed but nothing has happened. Instead, together with 27 colleagues, most of whom are well paid by the drug industry Collins has published a 30-pages long review in Lancet where they hail statin treatment. Here are some of their assertions:
1) You cannot believe in reports about side effects published by independent researchers because according to the statin trials less than one per cent suffer from side effects;
2) most side effects are imagined;
3) if you lower your cholesterol by 1 mol/l you can lower your risk of a heart event by 25% each year;
4) statin treatment protects against cancer.
Together with 17 experienced colleagues I am just now preparing a responsee for publication in an appropriate medical journal. I would need many newsletter pages to explain in a simple way that none of their incredible assertions are true. Let me just remind you about the fact that statin treatment is only able to prolong your life with a few days and that no significant benefits have been observed in the statin trials published after the introduction of New Clinical Trial Regulations, according to which all trial data should be made public (You can read more about these issues in my newsletter from Jan, 2016). And if you think that statin treatment protects against cancer; read our paper about that. It is just the opposite!
If statin treatment is beneficial and safe; why have they not yet allowed independent researchers to get access to the raw trial data?
In his book “Deadly Medicine and Organised Crime”, professor Peter Gøtsche, who is head of Nordic Cochrane, has documented the multi-million dollars fines, which the major drug companies have been assessed because of fraud, illegal marketing and bribery in the area of psychiatric drugs. A relevant question is, given the clandestine approach Collins et al have taken with regard to their refusal to release all statin clinical trial data, have they used similar deceptive methods?
You can get more information about that problem on Youtube in The hidden silence of clinical trials, a brilliant talk by Dr Sile Lane, director of Campaigns at Sense about Science.
Furthermore, on October 18th at 8:55 P.M an almost 1,5 hour long film about the cholesterol scandal by the French journalist Anne Georget is to be broadcast by the public TV-network Arte in both France and Germany. In that film a number of critical researchers, including myself, have been interviewed. It can also be viewed on catch-up TV during one week afterward, and here is a version with English subtitles