Why South-East Asia does not need statins

Author(s): Karl J. Neeser

Are statins harmful or helpful?

Today, statins, also known as HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors, are a class of lipid-lowering medications, and one of the most commonly prescribed class of drugs to lower cholesterol - with sales estimated to approach $1 trillion by 2020.1 Despite the widespread use of statins to lower cholesterol and reduce cardiovascular morbidity and mortality, half of the patients prescribed statins in primary care fail to reach healthy cholesterol levels after two years of treatment with these drugs. Drugs like Atorvastatin (Lipitor) and Fluvastatin (Lescol) provide little value to people without heart disease.2 Used in this way, statins are not only of low value care, but in many cases, represent a waste of health care resources and may even have undesirable side effects. Worryingly, heart-healthy users represent a sizable number of statin users.