Just saw this news item —
Statin drug may save lives of heart attack patients, according to a study of more than 170,000 patients. A study published in the American Journal of Cardiology shows that taking statin such as Pfizer Inc.’s Lipitor, the world’s best-selling prescription drug, within 24 hours of admission for a heart attack can markedly reduce the risk of early complications and of dying in the hospital.
“This is the largest study to look at whether very early use of statin therapy after (a heart attack) can influence clinical outcomes,” Dr. Gregg C. Fonarow, from the University of California Los Angeles, was quoted as saying by Reuters Health. The results do, in fact, “suggest that statins offer additional protective effects early.” The research led by Fonarow involved comparing records of more than 170,000 patients in the National Registry of Myocardial Infarction. The registry, coordinated by Genentech Inc., has collected data on more than 2.3 million heart-attack patients since 1990.
That’s certainly good news, but here’s the question — would statins be approved today under the current political environment? Unfortunately, that’s a debatable question. It’s worthwhile to remember that “back in the day,” Bob Temple saw the value of statins when the category was new and the data was spare. Temple saw the wisdom and lives were (and are) saved. FDA serves us best when it strives to both protect and advance America’s health. Imagine health care today minus statins. Imagine the dollars spent on hospitalizations. Imagine the lives lost. The wisdom of Temple is wonderful, but the FDA as Temple of Wisdom is essential. And science and politics don’t mix.