Mr. Speaker, in February, the FDA issued a warning that Lipitor and other statins cause memory loss and that 1 out of 200 patients taking statins will develop diabetes, meaning that 20,000 Canadians are at risk. One statin, Baycol, has already been pulled off the market for causing rhabdomyolysis, leading to kidney failure and death.
Other serious adverse effects from statins include cataracts and irreversible neurological damage. Are these risks worth it?
Eighty percent of statins, worth $16 billion a year, are taken by patients who have never had a heart attack and where there is no evidence that the benefits outweighed the risks. That is good for the drug companies and bad for patients.
Most patients can lower their cholesterol with diet change and exercise without the risk of serious adverse effects from statin drugs. Since doctors generally ignore safety warnings from regulators, patients should get the best available evidence on statins from their pharmacists and by doing their own research.