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Dr. Beatrice Golomb on Conflict of Interest in Medical Research
Old 05-19-2010, 08:01 PM   #1
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Dr. Beatrice Golomb on Conflict of Interest in Medical Research

This woman sounds like she is on speed but she sure makes you sit up and listen.

Any of you who might consider yourselves elderly (I think the youngest subjects were age 70) listen up about 2/3 of the way through when she analyzes the PROSPER study, which is apparently the only large study to specifically study statins in the "elderly".



Ha
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Old 05-19-2010, 08:19 PM   #2
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Do you mind summarizing? Sometimes I don't have bandwidth to play video. (and did you mean to include a link?)

Is this about the studies that show no benefit for statins with the elderly? That the statins benefits mainly accrue to middle-aged men with high cholesterol?

Audrey
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Old 05-19-2010, 09:33 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by audreyh1 View Post
Do you mind summarizing? Sometimes I don't have bandwidth to play video. (and did you mean to include a link?)

Is this about the studies that show no benefit for statins with the elderly? That the statins benefits mainly accrue to middle-aged men with high cholesterol?

Audrey
Thanks Audrey, I added the link.

I can't really summarize since she covers a great deal of evidence. But essentially it boils down to the research that gets published tends to be very biased toward the pharma that is paying the tab. She says that all the large statin trials have been done with pharma support. Negative studies don't get published very often, positive ones do. And if the data isn't positive, often enough it can be bent to make the conclusions positive, which is the part that most Docs read anyway, is definitely all that is mentioned by drug detail men and all that the press picks up.

As I remember the PROSPER study subjects are both men and women, age 70-74. I think the drug was pravastatin. This study to the best of my memory does not deal with young people of either sex.

But your mention of the main beneficiaries of statins being middle aged men is supported I believe by a dearth of evidence that women get any benefit from them.

Another interesting aspect of PROSPER according to Dr Golomb is that the subjects getting the drug had a 25% increase in cancer diagnoses. Some statin critics have long pointed out that long term use produces cancers in certain lab animals, I think rats or mice. There are many studies about this.

I order to understand this better I would have to go to the med lib and get the full study, as the reported summary is positive.

INTERPRETATION: Pravastatin given for 3 years reduced the risk of coronary disease in elderly individuals. PROSPER therefore extends to elderly individuals the treatment strategy currently used in middle aged people.

Dr. Golomb thinks this is pure bs.

Ha
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Old 05-20-2010, 06:49 AM   #4
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Very impressive presentation. However, that there is conflict of interest issues with drugs (and medical treatment in general) is not new -- witness the audience members agreeing with her. Pharmacuetical company advertising is in this same category -- that the FDA (and FCC?) allows some of the claims screams undue influence of some kind. Anyway, I don't regret the 10 minutes spent watching the video... as I normally would.
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Old 05-20-2010, 08:23 AM   #5
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TAs I remember the PROSPER study subjects are both men and women, age 70-74. I think the drug was pravastatin. This study to the best of my memory does not deal with young people of either sex.

But your mention of the main beneficiaries of statins being middle aged men is supported I believe by a dearth of evidence that women get any benefit from them.

Ha
The benefit to middle aged men was determined by earlier studies I believe.

Anyway, from what I have read over the years, it has never been clearly established that neither women nor the elderly benefit from statins and that there may in fact be some harm. But as I'm not a medical professional and have only occasionally researched things over the years my picture is a bit fuzzy.

Regardless - no question in my mind that there is a lot of questionable "evidence" published to encourage older people to take drugs daily/weekly for the rest of their lives. That is where the money is.

And then there are the insidious "creeping guidelines" - the constantly narrowing ranges of what is considered "healthy". And you find out how the health panels making these recommendations are packed with people who have major conflicts of interest. This really bugs me.

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Old 05-20-2010, 09:59 AM   #6
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The benefit to middle aged men was determined by earlier studies I believe.
Yes, I was not clear. I meant the benefit established was to middle aged men only, and that the actual data have not to my knowledge shown any benfit to women of any age, good health or poor.

However, these things are marketed to middle aged men and women, old men and women, and sometimes even to children.

Quote:
Anyway, from what I have read over the years, it has never been clearly established that either women or the elderly benefit from statins and that there may in fact be some harm. But as I'm not a medical professional and have only occasionally researched things over the years my picture is a bit fuzzy.

Regardless - no question in my mind that there is a lot of questionable "evidence" published to encourage older people to take drugs daily/weekly for the rest of their lives. That is where the money is.

And then there are the insidious "creeping guidelines" - the constantly narrowing ranges of what is considered "healthy". And you find out how the health panels making these recommendations are packed with people who have major conflicts of interest. This really bugs me.

Audrey
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Old 05-20-2010, 10:05 AM   #7
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For me, the biggest conflict of interest in pharma research is that there is really little or no financial incentive to find a *cure* for anything. A cure is a one and done, and there's no money in that relative to the R&D costs. The big money is in drugs that don't cure, but which merely treat the symptoms -- and have to be taken for life.

If penicillin were discovered by Big Pharma researchers today, I don't think it would be marketed. Instead they'd probably look to develop an alternative medication which doesn't kill the infection, but merely keeps it in check (as long as you keep taking their expensive pills every day).

Cynical? Yep. But think about it -- how many *cures* have been developed in the last 50 years?
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Old 05-20-2010, 10:15 AM   #8
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Yes, I was not clear. I meant the benefit established was to middle aged men only, and that the actual data have not to my knowledge shown any benfit to women of any age, good health or poor.
Yes, that is my understanding. Which is why if I am ever encouraged to take them I will be very hard-nosed about it (i.e. do my own research and really discuss it with the doctor).

And benefit to the elderly seems not to be established either, as far as I know. And there may even be some question of harm.

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YHowever, these things are marketed to middle aged men and women, old men and women, and sometimes even to children.
Wow - hadn't heard about the children! There has been a movement to push statins as a "wonder drug" and prescribe it to everyone. A dream come true for the Pharma industry of course.

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Old 05-20-2010, 10:26 AM   #9
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Cynical? Yep. But think about it -- how many *cures* have been developed in the last 50 years?
Well, there is this:

The cure for all diseases - Google Books

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Old 05-20-2010, 10:44 AM   #10
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Not sure if this is the correct link... but I watched the second part and it is more interesting...

When the first one ended... the second was a few to the right..


Edit... nope... it was the first link so I deleted it... got to find it yourself...
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Old 05-20-2010, 01:31 PM   #11
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Ah, 'Dr' Hulda Clark and Her Amazing Electrical Cure. (She claimed all diseases were caused by parasites, and could be cured with electricity.) This turned out not to work so well for her cancer.
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