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STATISTICAL CONTORTIONISM AMONG STATIN DRUGS


Shane Ellison M. Sc.
April 23, 2005
NewsWithViews.com

A veil of secrecy obscures the truth behind FDA-approved drugs, especially the cholesterol-lowering drugs. This veil was constructed using millions of dollars for marketing campaigns and consulting fees to medical doctors. Thanks to successful government lobbying on behalf of drug companies, the U.S. Government upholds these immoral practices. While effective, the veil is wafer-thin. It is easily torn down using basic statistical definitions.

Before you consider the effectiveness and safety of a prescribed drug, you must first understand these statistical definitions. They are total mortality, absolute risk reduction (ARR) and relative risk reduction (RRR). Understanding these statistical definitions is the number-one weapon for defending against dangerous drugs.

Total mortality is the most logical focal point for deciphering whether or not a drug is worth the risk. Using the total mortality rate to measure effectiveness ensures that while a drug might prevent the targeted disease, it does not accidentally kill you from cancer, heart attack, or some other deadly illness.

If Mr. Jones knew that drug X might accidentally kill him from cancer would he spend his money on it?

When reporting total mortality, drug companies can either report “absolute” or “relative” terms. For the big picture, the absolute risk reduction in total mortality (termed absolute total mortality) must be used rather than relative risk reduction. Absolute total mortality is the most important statistical association. It refers to the actual difference in risk reduction between the treated (the suckers who received the experimental drug) and the non-treated group. This difference elucidates whether or not drug X increases lifespan.

For example, the absolute total mortality rate for drug X is 1%. This was derived from the raw data. It showed the treated group to have a 3% reduction in total mortality. The untreated had a 2% reduction in total mortality. Therefore, the absolute total mortality rate was 1%. This translates to a 1% chance of increasing lifespan for users of drug X.

If Mr. Jones knew that drug X might accidentally kill him from cancer and confer a paltry 1% chance of increasing his lifespan, would he spend the money on it? No. He will use that money to pay for a personal trainer. Knowing the absolute total mortality rate preserved Mr. Jones’ health and saved him money.

The same cannot be said for Bob Misinformed Smith. Leaving out the absolute total mortality rate, Bob Misinformed Smith’s family doctor told him that drug X had a 33% risk reduction in total mortality. He left out that this was “relative” risk reduction and Bob did not ask. Following doctor’s orders, Bob scurried to the pharmacist to pay for his prescription. He then rushed home to watch football. Subsequent football commercials deceptively regurgitated the 33% relative risk reduction in total mortality among users of drug X. John Misinformed Smith smiled with hope – false hope.

What was deceptive about using relative risk reduction? Relative risk reduction exaggerates benefits. It is the percentage (not an actual difference in risk reduction) of the decrease achieved by the treated group vs. the untreated group. While the absolute total mortality was 1%, the same raw data yielded a relative risk reduction in total mortality of 33%.

Pretend you are a medical doctor. Which number will you regurgitate to patients? The absolute 1% or the relative 33%?

Relative terms are the least important statistical associations. Yet they are the most important for drug representatives, medical doctors and statistical contortionists within the media because they exaggerate benefits. Relative terms are good for a drug company’s bottom line but bad for our health. Focusing soley on relative risk reduction is akin to hiding evidence because it always makes a drug look more effective than it really is.

Now meet drug X: The statin drugs, particularly Pravachol, Zocor and Lipitor. The unprecedented success of these drugs is due to a combination of the pharmaceutical industry's statistical contortionists and their propaganda claiming that high cholesterol leads to heart disease.

Pravachol fails to increase lifespan. The WOSCOPS trial showed only a 0.9% absolute drop in total mortality among those taking Pravachol over 5 years. Pravachol drug pushers touted a 22% drop in relative risk reduction for total mortality.

Zocor fails to increase lifespan. The 4S trial showed only a 3.3% drop in absolute drop in total mortality among users of Zocor. Zocor drug pushers touted a 29% relative risk reduction for total mortality.

Lipitor fails to increase lifespan. The Anglo-Scandinavian Cardiac Outcomes Trial — Lipid Lowering Arm (ASCOT-LLA) trial, showed Lipitor to offer a 0% reduction in absolute total mortality rates among users. Lipitor drug pushers touted…whatever they wanted.

Those unable to lift the veil of secrecy behind the statin drugs will no doubt fall victim to them. Just say no to unsafe and ineffective FDA-approved drugs.

© 2005 Shane Ellison - All Rights Reserved

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Shane holds a Master’s degree in organic chemistry and has first-hand industry experience with drug research, design and synthesis. He understands that Americans want and deserve education rather than prescriptions. His shocking ebook surrounding cholesterol lowering drugs can be downloaded for FREE as a pdf file at www.health-fx.net/eBook.pdf. His book Health Myths Exposed is available at www.healthmyths.net 

E-Mail: shane@health-fx.net


 

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The unprecedented success of these drugs is due to a combination of the pharmaceutical industry's statistical contortionists and their propaganda claiming that high cholesterol leads to heart disease.