Primum non nocere – “first, do no harm.”
An article in today’s Irish Independent entitled ‘HSE Gags Surgeon After Cholesterol Drug Claims’ has truly shocked me to the core. The article tells the sorry tale of a leading surgeon who is gagged for giving his informed opinion. The HSE is Irelands’ Health Service Executive. Its Code of Governance states:
“The Health Service Executive (HSE) was established under the Health Act 2004 as the single body with statutory responsibility for the management and delivery of health and personal social services in the Republic of Ireland. As outlined in the Health Act, 2004 the objective of the Executive is to use the resources available to it in the most beneficial, effective and efficient manner to improve, promote and protect the health and welfare of the public.”
Dr Sherif Sultan, a leading vascular surgeon at University College Hospital Galway, researched a number of statin studies and concluded that they may do more harm than good in healthy people. He found there was a lack of evidence to show they should be given to healthy people and therefore avoiding the risk of statins’ side effects. Commenting in the Independent, Dr Sultan said: “I have received an official warning from the HSE and have been instructed not to liaise directly with the press in my capacity as a HSE consultant.” Today is a bad day for human rights in Ireland. Surely the HSE is violating this man’s Constitutional right to ‘freedom of expression’, not to mention Irish Citizens right to ‘Bodily Integrity’?
Statins adverse effects can include increased risk of Diabetes, Impotence, Acute Renal Failure, Myalgia and Severe Memory Loss. Last year the FDA (US Medicines Regulator) added diabetes and memory loss warnings to all statins. So Dr Sultan is right to be concerned. It begs the question; is our Government running the HSE or is Big Pharma pulling the strings once again? He further stated that analysis by the ‘British Medical Journal’ showed the superiority of exercise over drug therapy. Imagine saying exercise was superior to a possibly dangerous drug? Put him in the stocks; seriously gag the man, he’s lost the plot!
Statins are the most prescribed
medications drugs globally, meaning Dr Sultan is going up against a multi billion dollar industry. A quick search through David Healy’s RxISK website reveals, among other things: 6264 cases of Myalgia, 1879 deaths, 783 cases of Acute Renal failure, 908 cases of Depression and 653 cases of Memory impairment, all reported as an adverse effect of taking Pfizers’ Lipitor. It is common knowledge that the numbers of adverse effects is seriously under-reported and the above numbers are for just one of the Statin drugs.
Cardiologist Pat Nash of the ‘National University of Galway’ contradicted Dr Sultans position and was quick to ‘reassure patients that statins are safe’. 1879 deaths is not what I’d call safe Dr Nash. I’m sure his argument has nothing to do with the support that NUIG receives from Pfizer, Lilly, GlaxoSmithKline and MSD pharmaceuticals, or its research links with Lundbeck!
I wonder what our grandparents would have thought about doctors medicating healthy people, and that we were buying into it? I know what mine would have said. ‘Cyclafeetis!’ I think it is we who have lost the plot! Good on ye Dr Sultan.
Philippe Pinel 1745-1826 (Plagurised from RxISk.org): “there is an art in medicine in knowing when to treat but an even greater art in knowing when not to treat.”