Full Measure Sharyl attkisson statin wars

by Paul Fassa
Health Impact News

The American Heart Association (AHA) will soon be meeting in Chicago to set new guidelines for treating high cholesterol, the first big update since 2013.

Medical doctors are not at all unified in their position on cholesterol-lowering statin drugs, although pharmaceutical companies and their front groups, such as the AHA, would like the public to believe all doctors are in favor of lowering cholesterol via medication.

Independent journalist Sharyl Attkisson recently covered the issue of the “Statin Wars” on her TV show, Full Measure.

In the introduction to her show, Attkisson states:

Past (cholesterol) guidelines have said more and more of us should take cholesterol-lowering drugs called “statins” to prevent heart attacks and save lives.

But the recommendations aren’t without controversy.

And they raise a larger debate in medicine— over who’s paying the doctors and groups deciding what’s good for us.

She interviewed three people with different perspectives on statin drugs. 

Harvard Doctor John Abramson

Dr. John Abramson of Harvard Medical School

Dr. John Abramson of Harvard Medical School. Image from Full Measure.

The first guest Attkisson interviewed was Dr. John Abramson of Harvard Medical School.

He is aware of statin drugs’ adverse side effects and critical of statins’ guidelines and research. He laments the fact that the pharmaceutical industry has completely usurped physician discretion with treating patients. 

He appeared on the first TV documentary exposing statin drugs, The Cholesterol Drug War produced and hosted by Dr. Maryanne Demasi on ABC (Australian Broadcasting System) a few years ago.

The two-part series was not allowed to appear on ABC again. But it has been preserved and presented on Health Impact News, see:

The Cholesterol Drug War: ABC Australia Bans Documentary Exposing Statin Drug Scandal

In 2004, a panel of experts decided to lower the cholesterol count threshold for prescribing statin drugs, guiding physicians to millions more than the previous guidelines. 

Dr. Abramson followed the money and discovered that seven of the eight doctors on that panel had strong financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry, yet no conflicts of interest were displayed on the new guidelines report.

The NIH (National Institutes of Health) funds over $37 billion for pharmaceutical drug research annually.

Dr. Abramson and several colleagues petitioned the NIH to reject the new statin guidelines and fund a completely independent study on statin drug efficacy and safety.

Instead, the NIH rejected their proposal.

Science Teacher Ann Horn

Science Teacher Ann Horn

Science Teacher Ann Horn. Image from Full Measure.

The second person interviewed, Ann Horn, is a science teacher.

She was prescribed statins and suffered adverse side effects as a result, then got off them and reduced her LDL (the “bad” cholesterol) naturally by improving her diet and exercising without side effects.  

Sharyl’s coverage disclosed that three major pharmaceutical companies involved with either existing statin drugs or developing new cholesterol-lowering drugs have recently contributed over $40 million to the American Heart Association (AHA). 

It’s reasonable to suspect that drug companies would expect favorable mention and recommendations on their products from the authoritative and widely respected AHA in return for their “contributions.” 

Dr. Jennifer Robinson of the University of Iowa

Dr. Jennifer Robinson of the University of Iowa Full Measure

Dr. Jennifer Robinson of the University of Iowa. Image from Full Measure.

Keeping with the classic fair journalism reportage standard while managing to reveal the truth, Sharyl interviewed a pro-statin doctor as the third person in her coverage, Dr. Jennifer Robinson of the University of Iowa. 

Dr. Robinson was involved with the panel that created the 2013 statin drug usage and cholesterol count prescription guidelines.

The panel’s decisions immediately expanded the statin drug industry’s marketplace to include millions more of otherwise normally healthy individuals who would be subjected to potential adverse side effects.

Most of the panel “experts” were financially connected to the very pharmaceutical companies that produce them. Dr. Robinson proudly announced that this time conflicts of interest were reported and that attempts at transparency are progressing.

Dr. Robinson refused to directly answer Sharyl’s question of how much she benefited financially from Big Pharma’s statin makers. But Sharyl and staff discovered Dr. Robinson was rewarded around $5 million over the past five years for product promotion, research, and her work on the new 2013 statin guidelines. 

More Information about Statin Drugs 

Sharyl Attkisson’s report is certainly eye-opening, especially considering that it was all covered in under 9 minutes. (See full video here.)

Dr. Abramson acknowledged that statin drugs reduce cholesterol. But he openly wondered if that was even necessary for most.

Other than that and Ann Horn’s adverse side effects testimony, little was covered regarding the unhealthy aspects of reducing cholesterol.

The side effects people experience who are prescribed statin or other cholesterol-lowering drugs include intense muscular and tendon pain and weakening, heart attacks, possible cancer, and dementia. 

A critical heart and muscle cellular nutrient, CoQ10, is greatly diminished with statins. The pathway in the body that creates cholesterol is intentionally inhibited. But a part of that pathway is also involved with creating CoQ10, a vital nutrient for cellular energy throughout the body and especially the heart.

Doctors who adhere to the statin guidelines should recommend supplementing with over-the-counter or online CoQ10 supplements, especially the ubiquinol form. Japanese doctors mostly do, but most others do not. See:

Cholesterol Lowering Drug Scandal: CoQ10 Essential to Senior Health but Depleted by Statins

Dementia and other central nervous system problems caused by statin drugs are not side effects. They are from their intended purpose – reducing cholesterol. 

Cholesterol is vital for the following:

  • Producing Vitamin D from sun exposure to the skin – important for bone health and immunity.
  • Creating cell walls throughout the body.
  • Creating the nervous system’s myelin sheath to protect nerves and enhance neuron communication.
  • Building brain tissue, which is largely made of fat.
  • Patching arterial damage from inflammation caused by sugars, processed oils, and omega-6 and 3 fatty acid imbalances.

The last item is ironic, because observing lipid plaques patching arterial balance is part of what led to considering cholesterol as the prime culprit. It’s almost comparable to observing skid marks in auto accidents and claiming skid marks cause accidents.

This leads to the biggest elephant in the room not mentioned in Attkisson’s coverage. Research clearly shows that people with higher cholesterol live longer than those with low cholesterol!


Japanese Research Exposes Statin Scam: People with High Cholesterol Live Longer

It appears that this November 2018, another panel of experts will convene at an American Heart Association meeting in Chicago to decide on perhaps new guidelines for prescribing statin drugs to create more customers who will suffer more than benefit while being subjected to potential heart attacks.

Comment on this article at HealthImpactNews.com.

About the Interviewer

Sharyl Attkisson is the host of a major network independent news show that appears weekly on select TV stations throughout the nation. She is also the author of Stonewalled, which chronicles her frustrating adventures while probing Washington’s lies and cover-ups during the Obama reign.

She also exposed the CDC’s 2008-09 Swine Flu “epidemic” false statistics on a CBS national weekly TV news show when she was the producer. That’s right about the time her relentless search and forthright expression of hidden details began getting her into problems with the network, forcing her to go independent.

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