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From Vaccines to Statins: A Reply to Fake News in JAMA Cardiology

An article (jamacardiology_navar_2019_vp_190009) in the June, 2019 edition of JAMA Cardiology was titled, “Fear-Based Medical Misinformation and Disease Prevention: From Vaccines to Statins. In this article,[i] the author states “fake medical news” as the reason that patients are exhibiting hesitancy about utilizing statins and vaccines.

 

The author correctly points out that in 1963, before the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine was licensed, there were 3-4 million people who contracted measles each year. The immunization campaign which utilizes the MMR vaccine has decreased the incidence of measles. The author blames vaccine refusers for fueling outbreaks of measles. Yes, the recent outbreak in measles has been primarily in the unvaccinated population. However, mandating that every child receive the MMR does not guarantee a measles-free population. China continues to have measles outbreaks even though Chinese children are the most vaccinated in the world—over 99% of Chinese children are fully vaccinated for measles.[ii]   Furthermore, there has been a rash of mumps outbreaks across the US since 2006–all in fully vaccinated populations.[iii] In 2015-2016, 453 cases of mumps were recorded with 98% being fully vaccinated. In fact, from 2016-2017, there have been over 9,200 cases of mumps in the US, mostly from fully vaccinated people.

 

The author claims that “…pediatricians and public health officials have been battling fake news about vaccine safety.”   US children are the most vaccinated in the world. US children have the most chronic disease when compared to other Western children. In fact, over half of US children suffer with a chronic disease.[iv] Chronic disease in children has been increasing at epidemic rates at the same time we have been rapidly expanding the US childhood vaccine schedule. Since when is it fake news to question whether the expanding vaccine schedule correlates with the increasing rates of childhood illnesses?!

 

The author claims that “…the same fake medical news and fearmongering also plague the cardiovascular world through relentless attacks on statins.” The author further states that a popular health website[v] “…incorrectly indicates that statins cause memory loss, cataracts, pancreatic dysfunction, Lou Gehrig disease, and cancer. Many of these sites criticize statin researchers for links to ‘big pharma’…”

 

The Physicians Desk Reference states that adverse reactions associated with Lipitor include the cognitive impairment (memory loss, forgetfulness, amnesia, memory impairment, and confusion associated with stain use). Furthermore post-marketing studies have found Lipitor use associated with pancreatitis.[vi] Other researchers have reported a relationship between statin use and Lou Gehrig’s disease.[vii] Finally, peer-reviewed research has reported a relationship between statin use and cataracts.[viii] Statins being associated with serious adverse effects has nothing to do with fake news. These are facts.

 

As for criticizing researchers for links to “big pharma” I would like to ask why is that a bad thing? Researchers studying the association between the presence of individual principal investigators’ financial ties to the manufacturer of the drug study and the trial’s outcomes have shown that financial ties of principal investigators were independently associated with positive clinical trial results.[ix]   So, perhaps it is not fake news to point out that doctors should question the independence of every author and they should look critically at anyone who has financial ties to industry.

 

The author claims that “With the exception of a small, vocal minority, most physicians believe that statins, as with vaccines, are safe and effective.” Just because the majority of physicians believe something does not make it true. Vioxx was marketed to physicians as safer than older NSAIDs. This was ‘believed’ by a majority of physicians. The result of this belief was over 60,000 deaths and 140,000 heart attacks. Vioxx was eventually pulled from the marketplace due to the serious events it caused.

 

The author blames fake news because patients are concerned about statin safety. A large percentage of patients stop statin drugs due to side effects.[x] I find it doubtful that fake news is responsible for a large percentage of patients to suffer adverse effects from statin therapy. I have been a clinician for over 25 years and regularly heard patients complaining about statin adverse effects.

 

The author states that transparency and clear communication to patients is critical to maintain trust. I could not agree more. Perhaps the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention can allow a senior CDC scientist William Thompson—who has claimed whistleblower protection–to testify about his claims that the CDC lied, hid, and altered data that showed the MMR vaccine when given before 36 months of age is associated with autism. The CDC has refused to allow Dr. Thompson to testify about his claims. Dr. Thompson has claimed whistleblower status. And, perhaps the CDC can comment on another Federal case where the mumps part of the MMR is in court because two Merck whistleblowers have come forward stating the Merck falsified the data on the efficacy of the mumps part of the MMR vaccine.

 

The JAMA author states that the medical community needs to stay vigilant. Again, I could not agree more. Vigilance with Vioxx would have saved tens of thousands of lives and prevented hundreds of thousands of heart attacks.

 

Questioning the wisdom, safety and efficacy of any therapy is not fake news. It is what physicians should be doing.

 

My friend and colleague, David Diamond, Ph.D, also took exception to the JAMA Cardiology article. We wrote (Dr. Diamond was the principal author on this reply) the following reply which was rejected by the JAMA Cardiology. Refer to the link below to read our letter to JAMA: submitted_version_-_letter_about_Navar: 

 

More information about statins can be found in my book, The Statin Disaster.

[i] https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamacardiology/article-abstract/2736328

[ii] PLOS One. 2014; 9(2): e89631

[iii] Accessed 6.28.19 from: https://www.cdc.gov/mumps/outbreaks.html

[iv] American Pediatrics. Vol. 11. Issue 3, Supplement May – June 2011. S22-S33

[v] How much do you really know about vaccine safety? https://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/ archive/2017/12/16/how-much-do-you-knowabout-vaccine-safety.aspx.AccessedMarch27, 2019.

[vi] Accessed 6.28.19 from: http://labeling.pfizer.com/ShowLabeling.aspx?id=587#section-5

[vii] Drug Saf (2018) 41:403–413 https://doi.org/10.1007/s40264-017-0620-4

[viii] 1040-5488/12/8908-1165/0 VOL. 89, NO. 8, PP. 1165–1171 OPTOMETRY AND VISION SCIENCE

[ix] the bmj | BMJ 2017;356:i6770 | doi: 10.1136/bmj.i6770

[x] Annals of Int. Med. April 2, 2013. https://annals.org/aim/article-abstract/1671715/discontinuation-statins-routine-care-settings-cohort-study

 

 

 

Author Info

David Brownstein, M.D.

Comments ( 25 )

  • Author Icon

    Thank you for this and many other fine articles. I am referring this one to the husband of a friend whose husband is currently taking statins and questions the veracity of my non-professional opinion.

    Thank you for speaking up. It shows a rare courage that we need more of, as all who question the “official narrative” are subjected to the label of “fake news” in an effort to dissuade the public from asking serious questions that require answers, not scorn.

    I am old enough (born in 1948) to remember when most children caught the measles and mumps as a normal part of growing up — and our health has been better for it. It is a sad joke that such a scare is foisted on the modern parents about the “need” to vaccinate in order to protect children from what should be harmless childhood infections in healthy kids, when supported by healthy nutrition (which is rare these days).

    Keep spreading the truth, Dr. B!

  • Author Icon
    Kristi Dorn

    Thanks Dr. B. I read your books, blog and have listened to your webinar presentations. I always learn so much and your guidance has helped me manage my Hashi’s. Thank you for speaking the truth. [Iodine … hello?] I’ve also avoided the statin pushers thanks to what I’ve learned. I saw its negative effects in both of my parents. We need so many more like you in the medical profession. Thank you, thank you.

  • Author Icon
    Tom M

    Why is it a crime to question your doctor, Big Pharma and the medical establishment that is only concerned with how much money they can extract from a patient? Alternative medicine is taboo, but often offers some great alternatives. I am an intermittent faster and have lost weight, have lower blood pressure and feel much less bloated from overeating. My food bill has gone down by 1/3 and I have no real medical problems. I am in my late 60’s and do not take any meds. But fasting is free and even though it is generally healthy, most doctors do not use it. They can’t make a dime from suggesting it. I do not trust most drugs because if they were really that great, there would be virtually no side or after affects. You usually don’t get sick from eating healthier foods or taking vitamins or other supplements. I agree with this writer. No one should be forced to vaccinate or take drugs that have not been proven over the long term as being 100% safe.

  • Author Icon
    Kathryn M Novak

    Dr. B. Thanks for being there and educating and protecting all of us. We need more Doctor’s like you.

  • Author Icon
    Corky Taylor

    Keep up the good work. As has been stated previously, George Orwell quote: “In times of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act” as stated in the book, 1984. This is true as truth tellers often pay the price financially, publicly or privately.

  • Author Icon
    Joel Chudnow

    Through The Teacher’s Lens 🔍🤓
    There are absolutely no safe drugs or vaccines! Drugs cause harm!,
    Be responsible by having the best medicine in your kitchen clinic: organic vegetables, beans, nuts and seeds!!! Herbs are also food and can be therapy.
    Find a trusted teacher like Dr. B and make him/her your partner for wellness.
    There is still no law against being well!!! Thank you🙏😍🌝🤓

  • Author Icon

    Another international study from Findland with over 80,000 study particiants from Green Med Info.

  • Author Icon
    Carrol Braxton

    I could not agree with you more Dr. Brownstein. The medical elites are now and have been
    for a while pathetic. You are reporting what so many of us, the public, have known for some time.
    They think they can fool us into thinking they have superior knowledge. They are liars and deceivers.
    Oh, and they will think I got my opinion from you or some other article.
    My opinion comes from many sources highlighted by their own deception.
    Keep up the good work Dr.

  • Author Icon

    Howl On, Good Dr. B! The image of a “lone wolf” in the classic howl mode comes to mind in reading this article and if you relate to this image at all then howl on! If you don’t relate just consider that the wolf is the brother of the dog: “man;s best friend” and probably the most protective of human beings of any animal!

  • Author Icon
    Linda B

    Thanks for the insights into the serious world of ‘medical debate’ and how it is conducted. There is a new front line developing as we see with actions being taken on the Internet to silence those who question the status quo. And as you say..it is the job of doctors and scientists to QUESTION.
    Thank you for being a ‘questioner’.
    One needs only to observe the behaviour of the average GP to know that they only parrot what the drug companies tell them. Naturally they do not have the time to read all studies etc. no excuse. But…..FIRST DO NO HARM.

  • Author Icon
    Patricia Burton

    Thanks for staying vigilant and continuing to bring these topics to our attention. We need brave doctors like you to keep speaking up against all the fake news out there!

  • Author Icon
    Eric

    Big pharma sponsored fake news appearing in professional medical journals such as JAMA is going to eventually erode public trust in conventional modern medicine. It is very important to expose this blatant dishonesty as it now appears that big pharma is seeking to boost its profits by converting constitutional democracies around the world into pharmaceutical dictatorships.

  • Author Icon
    Larry L. Parks

    Right on Dr. B! I wish I could find a doctor locally half as good as you. Thanks for being.

  • Author Icon
    Bill

    Dr. B.
    Another stellar article you have written, my friend. The Thompson story continues to bewilder all of us. NOT! We know the drill.

    Those of us who have listened and learned are now facing dilemmas with out of state college bound students. In addition, we now have a divided family since the ill-informed primary educators have scared the daylights out of our older boy, whom you saved his life as a small child with NAET when he recovered from DTAP poisoning. We were lucky as his scores today are in the 99.98 percentile. It appears no amount of reversing his logic will work. He wants to go to med school and has informed his mother and me of his intention to move forward with ALL vacinations upon reaching the age of majority. If I am not mistaken one of the Brownstein children has followed your footsteps as well. Correct?

    We welcome your sugestions, as a physician and parent, on how to deal with these challenges many families may be incurring.

    Cheers!

    B

  • Author Icon
    Kathryn Hargreaves

    “Chinese children are the most vaccinated in the world-”
    “US children are the most vaccinated in the world.”

    Can’t be both. Which is it?

    Thx.

    • Author Icon

      Kathryn,
      I will re-read what I wrote. US children receive the largest number of vaccines in the world. Chinese, through mandatory vaccination policies, are the highest percentage vaccinated.
      Thanks for pointing out the inconsistency.
      DrB

  • Author Icon
    Mary McIntire

    I had resisted statins for years (even being dismissed from a couple of practices for being non-compliant). After pressure from my new doctor and my husband I agreed to try pravastatin. I was started on 80mg (yes that’s a lot) and within a month I was having horrible muscle pain so that I could not even complete my daily walk. I was switched to Zetia and within 3 days my shoulders were so painful I couldn’t dress myself. I began to lose weight. I dropped about a pound a day for three weeks. I went to see my pain management doctor and was diagnosed with Polymyalgia Rheumatica. This is an extremely painful auto-immune disease which is usually “triggered” by something. Since I have been healthy and active all my life and never taken prescription meds I can only guess as to the trigger, but none of the doctors I have seen since being diagnosed will admit this was caused by cholesterol lowering meds.
    Lesson here: the fake news is that these meds are safe! Nothing could be further from the truth.

    • Author Icon

      Mary,
      Sorry for your story. Zetia should never, EVER, have been approved. It is a worthless drug that, if you can believe it, is more worthless than statins.
      DrB

    • Author Icon
      Granny Janny

      Mary McIntire, Did your doc advise you to take Co-Q-10 along with the statin? If not, that’s what causes the muscle pain. The FDA was to put a black box warning on the statins pertaining to the necessitating of supplementing with the Co-Q-10, but guess they never got around to it as, last time I checked, there is none. How unfortunate for the patients, how fortunate for all the additional diagnoses/treatments which then ensue. Statins have also been found to deplete the body of K-2, the vitamin which ‘ushers’ calcium to its proper places in the body. A lack of K-2 can result in freeing calcium into the bloodstream, and we know the results of that (recently released study confirmed this, increased heart attacks starting at the three year mark of use). Seems we’ve slipped into Mirror World somewhere along the line.

  • Author Icon
    Ira Goodman MD

    Great post! Keep fighting this uphill battle. It’s one thing for the public to be confused but physicians? They are either ignorant ( which makes them incompetent) or they just want to do what they are told by their handlers ( which makes them immoral ). Either way it’s an embarrassment .

    • Author Icon

      Dr. G,
      Keep responding! Your Responses are always worth reading a few times over. I think I may use your quote, with full attribution, in my lectures. I love it!
      DrB

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