By Jefferey Jaxen

Imagine for a moment if drug manufacturers can act unethically when record profits are on the line – perhaps not a stretch. What if those unethical practices and manipulative methods were no longer working on the general public? What if an easier option presented itself? What if unethical pharmaceutical companies could magically push their products, reap record sales, be hailed as global saviors and were able to shut down any criticism of their products no matter how accurate? Would they try it?  

The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Cardiology published the article titled Fear-Based Medical Misinformation and Disease Prevention From Vaccines to Statins. The author, who receives research support to her institution from several drug companies, writes “While headlines shine the spotlight on vaccine refusal, the same fake medical news and fearmongering also plague the cardiovascular world through relentless attacks on statins.

Citing a study showing more than 1 in 3 patients citied fears about adverse effects as their reason for not starting a statin after a physician recommendation, the article attempts to claim that this is the fault of online misinformation. Why are the established shortcomings and harms of a pharmaceutical product no longer valid reasons for questioning a medical intervention?

In reply to this same JAMA article, Dr. David Brownstein recently wrote:

The Physicians Desk Reference states that adverse reactions associated with Lipitor include the cognitive impairment (memory loss, forgetfulness, amnesia, memory impairment, and confusion associated with stain use). Furthermore post-marketing studies have found Lipitor use associated with pancreatitis. Other researchers have reported a relationship between statin use and Lou Gehrig’s disease. Finally, peer-reviewed research has reported a relationship between statin use and cataracts. Statins being associated with serious adverse effects has nothing to do with fake news. These are facts.”

This isn’t the first time Big Pharma’s mouthwatering greed over their statin drug creations have led to ridiculous public pontification. In 2018 the University College London wrote a piece promising that statins were safe for children and cited recommendations for statin drugs for those as young as 10. In 2010 the Guardian published the suggestions of a doctor claiming that statins  “…could be placed beside the salt, pepper and tomato ketchup to encourage people to pop one after their meal.” In 2004 it was reported that doctors at the annual meeting of Heart UK, a patient and science charity for cholesterol, held debates about whether to add statins into the water supply. 

In 2000 and 2004, the National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP) revised the definition of what they considered ‘high cholesterol’ by lowered the threshold instantly makings million more eligible for statin drugs. Eight out of the nine NCEP panel members had financial ties to statin manufacturers at the time. Statin clinical trials prior to 2004 were tainted by scandals that led to new clinical trial regulations intended to safeguard patients and lend credibility to subsequent trials. In 2018, the American Journal of Medicine published a reappraisal of studies from 2005 to 2018 and showed that no trial found a mortality benefit and nearly two-thirds reported no cardiovascular benefit at all. The study concluded that cholesterol reduction via statins is not a powerful intervention for the prevention of cardiovascular disease.

The media’s ‘anti-vaxxer’ propaganda campaign has yielding short-term results by slowing the exchange of information across social media and video sharing platforms. The censorship model has also given cover to vaccine makers by stifling open debate while their lobbied legislators rushed bills through to remove several barriers between the public and their vaccine products. By doing so, both corporate media and Big Tech have uncloaked as enemies of the American ideals of free speech and open debate. JAMA’s new article and its author are desperately trying to seize this authoritarian opening by attempting to hitch all statin drug criticism to the current disingenuous anti-vaxxer/misinformation campaign. Yet in plain sight, the author of JAMA’s pro-statin censorship article has ties to four drug makers who are developing statins drugs or therapies which compliment or compete with statins. Interestingly, two of the products are drugs while the other two are injectables.     

Statins are the most widely prescribed drugs in the world with Lipitor being the top grossing drug in the history of medicine. During 2018, Pfizer’s Lipitor generated nearly $2.1B in revenue. For around a decade cholesterol-lowering drug Lipitor was one of the company’s top blockbusters, with record-high revenues of approximately $13B in 2006. Now that its patent has expired, the flood of new cumulative global sales and race for new drugs to enter the market has hit a crescendo. What better way to usher in the future market of cholesterol-lowering drugs and vaccines than with a global censorship campaign against any and all criticism of them. 

Debate and information surrounding alternative cancer therapies is also being targeted for elimination using the ‘anti-vax’ censorship model. As we move forward, it’s important to understand the common terms and template increasingly being used to eliminate competition and criticism for Big Pharma’s products. Here are some common words and their real definitions:

Fearmongering: To accurately describe the harms listed on the drug or vaccine’s insert and/or to discuss the pathways of such harms as discovered by research from published, peer-reviewed scientific journals.

Misinformation: A nebulous term whose power and authority is amplified by its ambiguity. Such ‘misinformation’ is never detailed by the ‘experts’ or media who claim it can be easily debunked. Concerning vaccines specifically, descriptions of ‘misinformation’ are usually followed by the sentence, “For example, a retracted 1998 study linking vaccines to autism” giving the impression there have been no further arguments, legitimate science, whistleblowers, experiences, or information able to expose vaccines to criticism or question over the last two decades.

Anti-Vaxxer: A modern-day medical slur used in an attempt to invalidate, pigeonhole and eliminate an entire conversation surrounding inconvenient truths about vaccines. Usually targeting parents who question vaccines after one or more of their children suffered injuries from their routine shots. The truer term would be ex-vaxxers because such parents usually followed the recommended vaccine schedule only to watch various injuries occur – many of which can be found listed on the vaccine insert and/or compensated for by NVICP’s vaccine court.