An urgent examination of statins, the drugs at the heart of debates on evidence-based medicine and of the malign influence of Big Pharma
Statins are the single most commonly prescribed class of drugs in the developed world. They’re taken by more than 100 million patients, with millions more people being offered them every year.
We know that statins do some good. But we don’t know how big the benefits are. We don’t know which statins are the best. We don’t know how common the side effects are. We don’t give clear information to patients, so they are deprived of their right to make informed decisions about the trade-off between benefits, inconvenience, and risk. All this can be fixed with a few simple changes that weld big data onto the heart and art of medicine.
In Statins, drawing on his own research, Ben Goldacre gives patients the tools they need to make their own decisions. Along the way he explores industry misdeeds; the nocebo effect, the evil twin of the placebo effect, where side effects are caused by the power of fear alone; and the differences in patients’ desire for treatment and doctors’ failures to empathize with this. With his characteristic wit and energy, Goldacre exposes the flaws in modern medicine and maps out the future it deserves.