Big Pharma called on the carpet by New England Journal of Medicine for hurting more fatties than it helps

I have a bit of a chip on my shoulder about diet drugs because I once got thrown out of my primary care physician’s office for refusing to take them.  I had spent a year seeing a nutritionist at her suggestion, and although I learned a lot and I eat even healthier than I used to, the weight loss was pretty minimal.  Since weight loss– and not health improvement per se– seemed to have been her primary goal for me, she next suggested bariatric surgery.  I thought that was weird, because according to medical guidelines, I”m not even a candidate.  You see, I have no comorbidities to go along with my fatness.  I don’t have diabetes or heart disease.  All of my health indicators are good– cholesterol, resting heart rate, blood pressure, fasting glucose, AIC, and every other test she did showed I was in very good health.

I guess I should give her credit for at least using the modifier “bariatric” to go with the word “surgery.”  I had a doctor in Cleveland once who simply suggested “the surgery” as if I should just KNOW she meant fat surgery because, hey, I’m fat.  What else would she mean?  But I digress.

Although even healthier than before, I was still fat, so my PCP persisted: If no surgery, would I consider taking weight loss drugs?  I said no.  My reason:  Every single weight loss drug that hits the market winds up being pulled because it kills people or ruins their health.  That is, except when the drugs kill people or ruin their health and DON’T get pulled from the market, as in the case of Meridia.

I don’t even know where to begin with this New York Times article on the weight loss drug Meridia.  It’s based on a study done (and, amazingly, ACTUALLY PUBLISHED) by Meridia manufacturer Abbott Laboraties.  They did a year-long study on older Meridia users.  They found that while after a whole year, users of Meridia lost only a handful of pounds more than people taking a placebo, the risk of heart attack and stroke was DRASTICALLY higher.  And amazingly, that was AFTER they weeded out people who were already showing signs of heart problems after the first six weeks of the study.  If those people were included in the final statistics, the rates of harm would have been even HIGHER!

Abbott Labs conclusion:  Meridia is still good, but people with heart problems shouldn’t take it.

Um, WHAT?  So the only people who should be taking this weight loss drug are fatties who are actually already in good health?  Wait, I thought there was no such thing as a healthy fatty!  Isn’t that why these drugs are necessary to begin with?

The New England Journal of Medicine still published the study despite the obviously ridiculous conclusion.  But they did something they almost never do:  They added an editorial of their own saying this study obviously proves that Meridia should be pulled from the market.  Take that, Abbott Labs!

One of the things that irks me the most is this:  If you started out fat but otherwise perfectly healthy, and you took weight  loss drugs because you let society convince you that fat-but-otherwise-healthy is not an acceptable state of being, and AS A RESULT OF TAKING THE DRUGS you suffer a heart attack or stroke, this will STILL be recorded as an obesity-related death.  Even though it was a Big Pharma-related death, which is not the same thing.  That’s something a lot of people don’t stop to think about when they read oversimplified statistics about how being fat supposedly kills people.  A lot of those deaths come about as a result of the ill-advised things desperate fat people do to try to lose weight.  If you die from weight loss drugs, complications from bariatric surgery, or damage to your body from repeated yo-yo dieting, if you’re still fat at the moment you die, it’s going to be counted as an obesity-related death.

There seems to be no public outcry whatsoever about this.  After all, fat people are not quite truly human, so if attempts to make us thinner winds up killing a bunch of us in the process, then who cares?  The lives of fatties apparently just aren’t worth as much.  Put another way, no price is to high to pay to make sure the moral panic over obesity is assuaged.

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2 Responses to “Big Pharma called on the carpet by New England Journal of Medicine for hurting more fatties than it helps”

  1. Jenny Jones Says:

    If only everybody thought this way, right?

  2. Tonya Says:

    PLEASE take 30 seconds to sign this petition and forward it on! Maybe we can make a change!! 🙂

    http://healthcare.change.org/petitions/view/stop_pharmaceutical_companies_from_getting_away_with_murder

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