'Statins have no side effects' was the extraordinary headline prompted by a study that claimed the drugs are no more dangerous than a placebo, or dummy pill. But now one of the authors, Dr Ben Goldacre-former 'Bad Science' columnist for a national newspaper-is distancing himself from the study, claiming it is another example of bad science.
The headline and the paper caused an immediate furore among patients and doctors, who have witnessed the countless numbers of side effects the cholesterol-lowering drugs cause.
The study, by Judith Finegold from Imperial College London and four other researchers, including Goldacre, claimed the drugs didn't have any side effects after reanalysing 14 trials, involving 46,262 patients.
But now Goldacre, who also wrote the book 'Bad Pharma', which investigated the fraudulent activities of the drugs industry, admits the study was flawed. He and his fellow researchers relied on data from previous studies that had been sponsored by statin manufacturers, and who may have been reticent to report side effects.
He said he was too late to include his objections in the final published paper.
(Sources; Daily Telegraph, March 13, 2014; European Journal of Cardiology, March 12, 2014: doi: 10.1177/2047487314525531; www.badscience.net)