The Health Sciences Institute is intended to provide cutting-edge health information.
Nothing on this site should be interpreted as personal medical advice. Always consult with your doctor before changing anything related to your healthcare.

Mad Men

Mad Men

The Mad Men of Madison Avenue have been wildly effective in convincing the public that cholesterol is deadly. And the “B Side” of that message has been just as effective: You can save your life if you just do as your doctor tells you and take Lipitor or Zocor or any of the other cholesterol-lowering statin drugs.

If these drugs were even half as effective as the advertising they might actually be worth taking. But the evidence shows that statins are practically worthless – unless, of course, you’re a drug maker who shares in the nearly $30 billion in sales that statin drugs rake in worldwide every year.

Do you know someone who takes a statin? If so, share this e-Alert with them and they might end up thanking your for saving them quite a bit of money on something they probably don’t even need.

Good business sense

When I need insights into medical issues, I don’t reach for a copy of Business Week. And yet, a couple of weeks ago, there it was on the newsstand – a Business Week cover that stated in large black and red letters: “For many people, cholesterol drugs may not do any good.”

That probably rocked a few BW readers back on their heels. But the article inside was even more damaging to the reputation of this cash cow drug. And that’s what rocked ME back on my heels. I’ve never seen such an honest, hard-boiled look at statins from a mainstream media source.

Author John Carey did an exhaustive job in uncovering the reality of statin drug use, and I’ve picked five key highlights from his article that ought to convince just about anyone that most people are throwing their money away when they spend around $1,000 per year on a statin drug.

Highlight One: It Really Works!

That’s right, statin drugs really do lower LDL cholesterol. And yet, according to James M. Wright, M.D. (director of Therapeutics Initiative, a Canadian organization that reviews the effectiveness of drugs), statin trials reveal that ANY amount of reduction in LDL cholesterol does not reduce heart attack risk for people over the age of 65, or for women of any age. (The one exception: Those who have already had a heart attack or are at high risk of heart disease may slightly reduce their risk of heart attack.)

Dr. Wright told Business Week: “Most people are taking something with no chance of benefit and a risk of harm.”

Why would anyone take this stuff?

Highlight Two: Drug company math is a shell game.

You’ve probably seen the Lipitor ads Pfizer is currently running. Dr. Robert Jarvik – the inventor of the artificial heart – tells us that Lipitor reduced the risk of heart attack by 36 percent in a clinical trial with subjects at high risk of heart disease. This reduction is impressive until Mr. Carey breaks down the math for us.

Here’s the catch: In the featured study, for every hundred people who took Lipitor, two had a heart attack, and for every hundred people who took a placebo, three had a heart attack. Impressive? Not so much. Sure, the math is correct: It’s a 36 percent risk reduction. But it means that the vast majority of Lipitor users with a high risk of heart disease received very little benefit.

Highlight Three: Just as effective as a sugar pill?

Mr. Carey writes: “The only large clinical trial funded by the government, rather than companies, found no statistically significant benefit at all.”

Highlight Four: Want big numbers? Check the side effects.

An estimated 10 to 15 percent of statin users experience side effects that I’ve noted in many previous e-Alerts: muscle pain, memory lapses, sexual dysfunction, and damage to the liver and kidneys. Dr. John Abramson, a clinical instructor at Harvard Medical School, told BW: “We should tell patients that the reduced cardiovascular risk will be replaced by other serious illnesses.”

Greasing the palms

Highlight Five: It’s all about the greenbacks, of course.

So with such tepid evidence that statin use is at all effective, why do so many doctors (such as Dr. Robert Jarvik) and media shills insist that statin drugs are life-savers?

Dr. Rodney A. Hayward, professor of internal medicine at the University of Michigan Medical School summed it up neatly for BW: “It’s almost impossible to find someone who believes strongly in statins who does not get a lot of money from industry.”

“Do Cholesterol Drugs Do Any Good?” John Carey, Business Week, 1/17/08,

Get a free copy of 5 Household Items that Cause Cancer

By texting HSI to 844-539-1128, you are providing your electronic signature expressly consenting to be called and texted (including by prerecorded messages, using an autodialer, and/or automated means) with alerts, stories, reports, and marketing communications from Institute of Health Sciences, LLC. and its authorized representatives at the phone number you provide, including landlines and wireless numbers, even if the phone number is on a corporate, state or national Do Not Call list. You also consent and unconditionally agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use, including the arbitration provision and class action waiver contained therein. Msg&data rates may apply. 15 Msgs/Month. You are not required to agree to this as a condition of making a purchase.

Terms & Conditions

The following Terms and Conditions apply to your use of the website located at (the “website”) and any text messages that you send to or receive from the Institute of Health Sciences, L.L.C. These Terms and Conditions constitute a binding agreement (“Agreement”) between you (“you”) Institute of Health Sciences, L.L.C (“we”, “us”, etc.)  Please read these terms carefully. 

By providing your telephone number to us, texting us a short code listed on the website, or otherwise indicate your agreement to these Terms and Conditions, you are agreeing to the mandatory arbitration provision and class action waiver below. 


Text Messaging and Telemarketing Terms and Conditions

When you provide your telephone number on this website or send a text message to us with or from a short-code, you agree to receive alerts and communications, and marketing messages including those sent via automated telephone dialing system, text messages, SMS, MMS, and picture messages from Institute of Health Sciences, L.L.C at the phone number you provide on this website or the phone number from which you text the short code, including on landlines and wireless numbers, even if the phone number is on a corporate, state or national Do Not Call list. You also agree to the mandatory arbitration provision and class action waiver below. Your consent is not required to purchase goods or services. Message & data rates may apply.

You may opt-out at any time by texting the word STOP to the telephone number from which you receive the text messages.  Call 1-888-213-0764 to learn more.  By providing your telephone number, you agree to notify us of any changes to your telephone number and update your account us to reflect this change. Your carrier may charge you for text messages and telephone calls that you receive, or may prohibit or restrict certain mobile features, and certain mobile features may be incompatible with your carrier or mobile device. Contact your carrier with questions regarding these issues.

Dispute Resolution by Binding Arbitration and Class Action Waiver

Any dispute relating in any way to telephone calls, emails, or text messages that you receive from or on behalf of Institute of Health Sciences, L.L.C this website, or this Agreement (collectively “Disputes”) shall be submitted to confidential arbitration and shall be governed exclusively by the laws of the State of Maryland, excluding its conflict of law provisions.  For the avoidance of doubt, all claims arising under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act and state telemarketing laws shall be considered “Disputes” that are subject to resolution by binding individual, confidential arbitration.

If a Dispute arises under this Agreement, you agree to first contact us at 1-888-213-0764 or Before formally submitting a Dispute to arbitration, you and we may choose to informally resolve the Dispute.  If any Dispute cannot be resolved informally, you agree that any and all Disputes, including the validity of this arbitration clause and class action waiver, shall be submitted to final and binding arbitration before a single arbitrator of the American Arbitration Association (“AAA”) in a location convenient to you or telephonically. Either you or we may commence the arbitration process by submitting a written demand for arbitration with the AAA, and providing a copy to the other party.  The arbitration will be conducted in accordance with the provisions of the AAA’s Commercial Dispute Resolutions Procedures, Supplementary Procedures for Consumer-Related Disputes, in effect at the time of submission of the demand for arbitration.  Except as may be required by law as determined by the arbitrator, no party or arbitrator may disclose the existence, content or results of any arbitration hereunder without the prior written consent of both parties. Institute of Health Sciences, L.L.C will pay all of the filing costs.  Without limiting the foregoing, YOU EXPRESSLY AGREE TO SUBMIT TO ARBITRATION ALL DISPUTES RELATING TO ANY TEXT MESSAGES OR TELEPHONE CALLS YOU RECEIVE FROM OR ON BEHALF OF US OR ANY ENTITY WITH WHOM WE MAY SHARE YOUR TELEPHONE NUMBER.  Further, we both agree that all entities with whom we share your telephone numbers shall be third party beneficiaries of this Agreement to Arbitrate Disputes, and that those entities have the same rights as Institute of Health Sciences, L.L.C to enforce this arbitration provision.

Notwithstanding the foregoing, the following shall not be subject to arbitration and may be adjudicated only in the state and federal courts of Maryland: (i) any dispute, controversy, or claim relating to or contesting the validity of our or one of our family company’s intellectual property rights and proprietary rights, including without limitation, patents, trademarks, service marks, copyrights, or trade secrets; (ii) an action by us for temporary or preliminary injunctive relief, whether prohibitive or mandatory, or other provisional relief; (iii) any legal action by us against a non-consumer; or (iv) interactions with governmental and regulatory authorities.  You expressly agree to refrain from bringing or joining any claims in any representative or class-wide capacity, including but not limited to bringing or joining any claims in any class action or any class-wide arbitration.

The arbitrator’s award shall be binding and may be entered as a judgment in any court of competent jurisdiction. To the fullest extent permitted by applicable law, no arbitration under this Agreement may be joined to an arbitration involving any other party subject to this Agreement, whether through a class action, private attorney general proceeding, class arbitration proceedings or otherwise.

YOU UNDERSTAND THAT YOU WOULD HAVE HAD A RIGHT TO LITIGATE IN A COURT, TO HAVE A JUDGE OR JURY DECIDE YOUR CASE AND TO BE PARTY TO A CLASS OR REPRESENTATIVE ACTION.  HOWEVER, YOU UNDERSTAND AND AGREE TO HAVE ANY CLAIMS DECIDED INDIVIDUALLY AND ONLY THROUGH ARBITRATION.  You shall have thirty (30) days from the earliest of the date that you visit the website, the date you submit information to us through the website, or the date that you send a text message to us, to opt out of this arbitration agreement, by contacting us by email at or by mail Health Sciences Institute, PO Box 913, Frederick, MD 21705-0913. If you do not opt out by the earliest of the date that you visit the website, the date you submit information to us through the website, or the date that you send a text message to us, then you are not eligible to opt out of this arbitration agreement.

Electronic Signatures

All information communicated on the website is considered an electronic communication.  When you communicate with us through or on the website, by text message or telephone, or via other forms of electronic media, such as e-mail, you are communicating with us electronically.  You agree that we may communicate electronically with you and that such communications, as well as notices, disclosures, agreements, and other communications that we provide to you electronically, are equivalent to communications in writing and shall have the same force and effect as if they were in writing and signed by the party sending the communication.

You further acknowledge and agree that by clicking on a button labeled “ORDER NOW”, “SUBMIT”, “I ACCEPT”, “I AGREE”, “YES”, by texting a short code to us in response to a request on this website, or by clicking or similar links or buttons, you are submitting a legally binding electronic signature and are entering into a legally binding contract.  You acknowledge that your electronic submissions constitute your agreement and intent to be bound by this Agreement.  Pursuant to any applicable statutes, regulations, rules, ordinances or other laws, including without limitation the United States Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act, P.L. 106-229 (the “E-Sign Act”) or other similar statutes, YOU HEREBY AGREE TO THE USE OF ELECTRONIC SIGNATURES, CONTRACTS, ORDERS AND OTHER RECORDS AND TO ELECTRONIC DELIVERY OF NOTICES, POLICIES AND RECORDS OF TRANSACTIONS INITIATED OR COMPLETED THROUGH THE WEBSITE.  Furthermore, you hereby waive any rights or requirements under any statutes, regulations, rules, ordinances or other laws in any jurisdiction which require an original signature, delivery or retention of non-electronic records, or to payments or the granting of credits by other than electronic means You may receive a physical paper copy of this contract by contacting us at

Privacy Policy

Please read our Privacy Policy, which is incorporated herein by reference.  In the event of any conflict between these Terms and Conditions and the Privacy Policy, these Terms shall control.

Contact Us

You may contact us by telephone at 1-888-213-0764 or by email at