Wednesday, 28 May 2008
Wonder Drug - More Please
This story might seem familiar - perhaps because it's the same story as this from 2005 (and, no doubt, 2006 and 2007). Why do NICE and the medical profession love statins so much, despite strong evidence that they are already being overprescribed and have alarming side-effects? I suspect it's another case of GPs falling for the latest 'wonder drug' that will solve a major problem for them with minimal efffort - so they dole it out like sweeties, until a few years down the line the chickens come home to roost, and things turn out not to have been so simple after all. It's a familiar pattern. As for NICE, the appeal of statins is obvious - you can get the appearance of big benefits from blanket prescription, and when you're prescribing preventively, standards of proof are pretty relaxed (how do you establish what might have been if you hadn't been doling out the statins?). Statins, then, are aptly named - the statistician's dream drug, and the pharmaceutical weapon of choice of statist medicine.