Fiona Godlee, the editor of the British Medical Journal — one of the most respected medical journals in the world — put the problem bluntly: “there is a concern underlying [the authors’] critique that will be familiar to BMJ readers. It is that all of the trials included in the CTT meta-analysis were funded by the manufacturer of the statin being studied. They list the various ways in which these trials might have exaggerated the benefits of statins and minimized the harms, and they summarize what low risk patients need to know. Top of the list is the benefit of lifestyle change, something that the dominance of industry sponsored clinical trials too often obscures… None of this does much to bolster confidence in the published literature.”
If you are feeling spun around by all this talk of meta-analyses and analysis of meta-analyses, you are not alone. It is dizzying and disappointing to learn about these problems in the highest echelons of research science. They highlight not just a problem with one or two studies but rather with the entire apparatus of pharmaceutical research.
If drugs like Lipitor have serious side effects (not just muscle pain and liver damage but also horrific illnesses like Type 2 diabetes), the benefits must be crystal clear and easily replicated in experiment after experiment.
Yet that is clearly not happening.
The cost benefit calculus has to make sense, not just for drug companies but for patients and their familes. Remember, this a $29 billion/year industry. The establishment has invested an incredible amount of time, money, and resources into drugs like Lipitor. One might think that the science supporting the widespread use of statins was bulletproof. But it is apparently anything but. This research situation is simply not acceptable — too many lives are at stake, and too much money is on the table.
The attorneys at Davis & Crump can help with your Lipitor case. Get in touch with us now at 800-277-0300.