Statins are the most widely prescribed, cholesterol-lowering drugs in the world. Despite the expiration of their patents, revenue for statins is expected to rise, with total sales on track to reach an estimated US$1 trillion by 2020. A bitter dispute has erupted among doctors over suggestions that statins should be prescribed to millions of healthy people at low risk of heart disease. There are concerns that the benefits have been exaggerated and the risks have been underplayed. Also, the raw data on the efficacy and safety of statins are being kept secret and have not been subjected to scrutiny by other scientists. This lack of transparency has led to an erosion of public confidence. Doctors and patients are being misled about the true benefits and harms of statins, and it is now a matter of urgency that the raw data from the clinical trials are released.
- cardiovascular disease
- CTT collaboration
- data transparency
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Contributors The author would like to thank Professor Rita Redberg, Dr John Abramson, Dr Fiona Godlee and Dr Aseem Malhotra for reviewing this article.
Competing interests None declared.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.