COMMENTS: Pop More Pills

Because of her assignment to the typhoon, NBC's Dr Nancy was not on hand for the Big Pharma story that was covered by the in-house physicians at the other two newscasts, Richard Besser at ABC and Jon LaPook at CBS. On the agenda was the recommendation that many more patients -- even some of us with healthy levels of cholesterol in our bloodstream -- should take prescription statin pills every day for the rest of our lives. The guidelines, organized by Dr Neil Stone of Northwestern Memorial, suggested that fully one third of all adults should by hooked on statins: that means anyone with a 7.5% risk of suffering a heart attack at any time in the next decade.

NBC assigned the story to Stephanie Gosk, a non-specialist correspondent, before finding a back-up in-house physician for a quick q-&-a (at the tail of the Gosk videostream). Tanya Benenson is not a reporter; she is management, the Chief Medical Officer for the NBC-Universal corporation.

None of the packages told us how much these extra pills will cost the healthcare system, nor how many extra lives will likely be saved as a consequence. Dr Rich at ABC did warn us of the side effect that statin-poppers will have to give up grapefruit juice.


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