Dispensing free prescription drugs at McDonald's?!
The American Journal of Cardiology (August 15, 2010) has published an article which is a disgrace to the medical profession and humanity in general. You will not believe this! The authors of the article propose that fast food establishments provide free statin drugs, along with the condiments they provide (ketchup, mustard etc.), to their customers. Here is the rationale. Fast food consumption is associated with increased incidence of cardiovascular diseases (heart attack, high blood pressure, stroke). Statin drugs, at physician prescribed and individualised per patient daily dose, lower LDL (bad cholesterol) in the blood. This, in turn, decreases the risk of cardiovascular diseases. Here is the outrageous summary provided by the authors of the article: "Routine accessibility of statins in establishments providing unhealthy food might be a rational modern means to offset the cardiovascular risk. Fast food outlets already offer free condiments to supplement meals. A free statin-containing accompaniment would offer cardiovascular benefits, opposite to the effects of equally available salt, sugar, and high-fat condiments." Are you kidding me? Statins are controlled substances. This why they require prescription. They are not without side effects. In fact, they have many serious side effects. Only daily doses have been shown to have some benefit. There are no studies showing such benefit from occasional, dose uncontrolled statins intake. The authors compare their proposal to seatbelts in cars! As a physician, I am outraged by the fact that anyone will fund a study like this, and I am even more outraged that the editorial board of the American Journal of Cardiology will consider something like this suitable for publication.