We look at the very interesting mathematics behind the marketing of statins on the latest episode of the Dr. Nick Show (Episode 7). In it we discuss NNT, the number needed to treat for one person to benefit from a drug. Lipitor, the most popular statin (see the commercial here), accounting for approximately $14 billion in sales annually, has an NNT of 100 in its clinical trials. That is, it takes 100 people taking the drug for one to benefit. In other words, 99 out of every hundred (99%) people taking Lipitor get no benefit from the drug. What? That’s right, NO BENEFIT!
So what gives? I mean these drugs have been touted as simply miraculous. They are the answer to high cholesterol, that supposed villain responsible for many heart attacks (listen, I debunk this myth in my new book, The Six Keys to Optimal Health; please pick up a copy). Well, these latest findings sure put a dagger into that nonsense. And am I the only one frightened by the notion that “statins should be added to the water supply“, as some researchers have suggested? Hell no.
If I’ve said it once I’ve said it a million times, nobody is going to care as much about your health as you do. Not your doctor, not the government, and not the pharmaceutical industry. Drug manufacturers will always try to portray their product in the best light. And doctors simply don’t have time to scrutinize every drug that comes out, so they rely on drug reps to give them the skinny on the latest drugs. When drug reps tell doctors that their statins reduce heart attacks by 36%, doctors believe these numbers. Add to that a certain dogma that has its way of infecting all large institutions and well…I guess it takes the public to be on its own toes.
So there you have the truth. Listen to the latest episode of the Dr. Nick Show for more information on the fallacy of statin drug efficacy. And keep tuning into this blog for the latest in health news and information. I promise, you won’t get this information from your medical doctor. No time. Sorry.