Vytorin Increases Cancer Risk by 64%
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
Byron J. Richards, Board Certified Clinical Nutritionist
Vytorin is the Merck and Schering-Plough cholesterol-lowering drug at the center of a major fraud investigation with lawsuits filed by attorney generals across the country. The drug is very good at lowering cholesterol – while it doubles the rate of plaque forming in your arteries. The fact that it is still on the market at all is a testament to the ineptitude of the FDA. Yet, Merck and Schering-Plough keep raking in billions.
The latest chapter in this saga occurred on Monday when the drug companies held a special conference1 to release the abysmal results of another Vytorin study. This study was supposed to show that Vytorin would benefit patients with aortic stenosis, a calcification of the heart valve that is increasingly more common in older Americans - leading to congestive heart failure and death. The study showed Vytorin was no better than placebo – meaning the drug failed again.
Even worse, researchers were shocked to see that the drug increased the rate of cancer by 61%. Scrambling to do damage control Merck and Schering-Plough employed outside friendly “experts” from Oxford to evaluate the cancer data. As the Wall Street Journal reported from a highly unusual media meeting:
“Sir Richard Peto of Oxford was part of a team brought in to analyze the cancer findings…He says the results don’t look like what you would expect if the drug was causing cancer. “It was many different types of cancer,” which you wouldn’t expect to see if the drug caused a particular kind of cancer. “This isn’t the sort of drug that would be expected to produce a material effect on cancer.” And, he said, the numbers weren’t “really much beyond what could be expected to arise” by chance.”
Excuse me Mr. Oxford genius – do you really believe what is coming out of your mouth? The data shows that the cancer numbers are statistically significant. Since that hard data clearly does not support the marketing efforts of Merck and Schering-Plough you want us to believe your opinion that the data was by chance? How convenient to employ a British Knight to slay the Vytorin naysayers.
The feeble argument that Vytorin should have caused one or two forms of cancer, not many different types of cancer, is ridiculous. Lowering cholesterol to the absurdly low Vytorin-induced levels in this study cripples the natural production of selenoproteins and isoprenoids – key natural defense mechanisms against cancer. These are generalized cancer defense mechanisms, so of course any type of cancer could manifest based on an individual’s potential weaknesses.
The only surprise about the cancer data is that it was reported at all. Normally Big Pharma would have swept such incriminating data under the rug. The reason they couldn’t is because all their Vytroin data is now under such scrutiny they can’t dispose or alter undesirable data like they normally do.
This cancer information has very broad implications for the entire statin industry – indicating that as cholesterol levels are forced abnormally under the pretense of heart disease prevention, cancer rates are going to rise. Any fleeting benefits to high dose statin therapy or other means of aggressively and unnaturally lowering cholesterol are rapidly disappearing.
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