Tom Ballard, ND's blog


Pushing Down the Limits
November 4, 2010, 10:40 am
Filed under: Medications | Tags: , , , ,

It is in the interest of drug companies to push for tighter guidelines on tests such as cholesterol and blood pressure. If they can convince doctors that cholesterol levels should be below 200 and blood pressures below 140/90, then they sell more pills.

I’m too cynical you say?

I predict that in the next few years, guidelines for cholesterol and blood pressure will be lowered, despite research showing that the new recommendations actually increase health problems.

In early 2010 the New England Journal of Medicine http://www.nejm.org/doi/pdf/10.1056/NEJMoa1001286 reported the results of the nationwide ACCORD study of 4,733 diabetics. It concluded that lowering cholesterol and blood pressure below current levels provided no benefit when weighed against side effects. (Fun fact: patients in the intensive treatment group took an average of 3.6 medications to lower their blood pressure! Talk about good for business.)

Will a large study with a negative impact on drug sales be tolerated?

Watch and see.

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