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My nine weeks of hell after being arrested for murder

Thank you for your excellent article on statins (Clinical, December 6). I share Dr Malcolm Kendrick's alarm that we could, within a few years, be spending more than £5 billion of the NHS's scarce resources on a drug that has no overall effect on mortality and no proven effect on cardiovascular mortality in women. The benefits have been widely publicised and the risks largely discounted.

Statins produce a severe deficiency of co-enyme Q10 which is essential for muscle function, including heart muscle. Dr Longsjoen, a Texan cardiologist, has noted 'a frightening increase in heart failure due to statins'.

Co-enzyme Q10 deficiency is also linked with Parkinson's disease and this key nutrient protects against cancer. The pharmaceutical industry is only too aware of this danger and has already patented statins combined with

co-enzyme Q10 yet no drug rep will ever mention this.

In September 2001, 14 international experts, many being professors of medicine, signed an open letter to the US Food and Drug Administration warning them that they might be creating a life-threatening deficiency in millions of patients.

The way these trials are reported play down the risks. For instance the CARE trial was quick to point out a 12 per cent reduction in heart deaths. It kept quiet about the 1200 per cent increase in breast cancer but merely called this an anomaly.

To add to the scientific bias it is routine for trials that show no benefit or an excess mortality (such as the large EXCEL trial) to be buried.

Even for males with CHD and high cholesterol the benefit is much less than commonly perceived. Their chance of surviving for five years is 92 per cent without statins and 95 per cent with them and that 3 per cent benefit diminishes to 0.1 to 0.4 per cent for those not at risk.

It is sad reflection on today's medicine that other treatments where the cost-benefit and risk-to-reward ratios are much more favourable ­ such as the Mediterranean diet, reducing trans fats and lowering homocysteine ­ receive little attention and high-risk/ high-cost treatments are given an unjustified preference. The public have a right to ask why.

Dr Jerry Thompson

Slough, Berkshire

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