Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Raising medical blood pressure

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It is distressing that the Free Press would publish so extreme a piece of unbalanced journalism as Unravelling the facts about high cholesterol (Nov. 25).

The column includes the usual high-cholesterol chestnuts: statins aren't worth the risk, hassle and costs; the minuscule effects of high cholesterol; and levels of so-called high cholesterol have always been an artifact of the pharmaceutical industry and those clinicians who believe in "lipid theory," etc.

The author, Alan Cassels, is a journalist who has written extensively about his media colleagues who he, ironically, thinks do a poor job writing about drug therapy. He, incidentally, has no medical or scientific credentials.

Certainly, while all is not perfect in the world of medical prescribing and treatment guidelines written by doctors for doctors contain some controversial items, that is no excuse for Cassels' dangerous assertions and gross misinformation.

Such articles cause public harm by turning patients, facing a high risk of death or serious illness, away from proven treatment. No drug in the world is guaranteed to be free from the risk of a side-effect. But this is a poor reason for refusing to offer a treatment where the probability of benefit far exceeds that of a side-effect.

DR. DAVID MYMIN

Winnipeg

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition November 27, 2013 A10

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