Cholesterol research myths

An interesting dimension of pharmaceutical companies’ practices is that the same corrupt drug companies that reap money from drugs conduct the research, pay the researchers and control the research—including what is and is not published. Drug companies engage in censorship, bribery, corruption, fraud, suppression of negative studies and all varieties of unscrupulous tactics to sell their products; there are literally hundreds of studies that demonstrate this. At the simplest level, most medical research is financed by pharmaceutical companies seeking support for drugs that are either on the market or in development.

Recently, I wrote a couple of blogs that described the problems with the JUPITER study.  The independent analysis of the same date showed no benefit and more importantly it bought into question the strong vested interests sponsoring the study.  What was also neglected in the reports on the original JUPITER study was that it showed an increase in the risk of various side-effects including diabetes. But the biggest problem with the JUPITER study was the study itself. Most people assume  that science is pure and there is not going to be any research bias. This is not the case and certainly not the case with JUPITER trial. First of all the exclusion criteria was very lengthy and contained common conditions including postmenopausal hormone replacement therapy, past or current use of lipid lowering therapy, diabetes, liver disease, uncontrolled hypertension, cancer within five years, hypothyroidism, recent history of alcohol or drug abuse or other medical condition that might compromise the successful completion of the study, inflammatory conditions including severe arthritis lupus or inflammatory bowel disease and so on.  That means a lot of people, average people could not be included in the study and its selected specifically to achieve a specific outcome.

In an earlier study called the CORONA trial they looked the same drug over a period of 32.8 months and found while it significantly lowered LDL cholesterol, similar to those reported in the JUPITER trial, it performed no better than a placebo on the primary outcome, deaths from cardiovascular causes, non-fatal MI and non-fatal stroke. There was also no difference between the drug and placebo cardiovascular cause, or cause death, or any coronary events.

This was further compounded by the fact that the JUPITER study was supposed to go of 3-4 years however was terminated at 1.9 years while some of the results appeared positive.  You can’t change a study half way through it just because you might show some positive results.