gty_lipitor_tk_111129_mnOne would think that the $Bs spent on “getting my cholesterol checked” would have purchased an ounce of truth or benefit. What would an afternoon of football be without that commercial break with the typical stressed middle aged male trying to act out the role of the vulnerable victim of heart disease. But along comes the Superdrug — most usually Lipitor or Crestor — to save the day. For years now the very idea that the management of the actual levels of cholesterol has permeated medical dogma to the point where True Believer medical communities actually adopted community reporting requirements that graded physicians on whether or not they were succeeding in keeping those numbers beneath very strict thresholds. One needn’t look far, as Minnesota — thanks to Governor Tim Pawlenty — decided to unleash the Drugs of War by creating the MN Community Measurement reporting requirements in 2008-09. Initially this sought to make sure that everone with a sl excess of cholesterol in their blood was either placed on a suitable statin drug or the “provider” (MD, nurse practitioner, physician assistant, or clinic) would get a “bad grade” or lump of coal in their shoe.  Many scrambled to meet these requirements as this artifical standard was promoted in order to get 2-3% more on their insurance reimbursement (also known as 3rd party payer bribery).  It has been at least 15 years now that the statin alarm has rung in the halls of medicine.  Well, now we have a study with a new type of cholesterol lowering drug — known as a cholesteryl ester transfer protein inhibitor or CETP inhibitor — does everything would could have hoped a drug could to cholesterol with no statin-type of side effects. Except it did nothing for the heart.

That’s right, the perfect cholesterol drug — seemingly side effect free — did zilch. So all those Minnesota Community Quality Reporting grades were based on test scores that were really measuring a phoney quality indicator.  Is it any wonder why all the quality reporting basically costs a lot and accomplishes very little?  And do please ask your doctor about this new study and why you should care a wit about your cholesterol measurements.

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