Millions of people worldwide take statins for heart and artery problems caused, we’re told, by high cholesterol. The side effects of these drugs can be alarming. Nevertheless, it’s a huge market for Big Pharma, and anything that might cause a drop in the sales of statins would not be welcome to Pzifer, Merck, and AstraZeneca, the leading manufacturers.
Despite the marketing hype for these drugs, there’s doubt over their real effectiveness in combating heart disease. As far back as 2011, the Telegraph reported:
Pfizer’s Lipitor was the world’s top-selling medicine last year, according to IMS, raking in sales of $13.3billion. AstraZeneca’s Crestor, which garnered $5.38billion in sales during 2009, is one of the company’s best selling medicines.
Total sales last year of cholesterol-treating medicines – including statins – were $35billion, according to IMS.
Dr Navid Malik, a pharmaceuticals analyst at Matrix Partners, said the global statin market has grown significantly over the past ten years.
“Statins enjoyed superior growth in the market because they could be shown to lower bad cholesterol whilst raising good cholesterol,” he added…
…Despite the commercial success of statins, Dr Malik pointed out that the peristence of heart disease does raise questions about the drugs’ value for money.
“Statins have been the fairy tale story in the industry. But heart disease is still the number one killer in the western world, so one could argue how much value for money have we really got out of their use,” he said.”
Now there’s a new kid on the block, which could knock the statins off the dispensary shelves. UK company, OptiBiotix, has produced a tablet that could do just that.
According to the Pharmaceutical industry newsheet, Pharmaletter:
…the company released further details this month on a 12-week double blind placebo controlled study of the tablet, which is made up of hundreds of millions of freeze-dried and compressed bacteria. The trial recruited 50 volunteers and was designed to establish safety, compliance, and the extent of the cholesterol lowering potential of OptiBiotix’s Lactobacillus plantarum strain in mildly hypercholesterolemic adults.
When triallists took one pill daily for three months, their cholesterol level fell by an average of 37%. There was on average a 5.1% reduction in systolic blood pressure. No safety, compliance, or tolerance issues were reported by volunteers during the study in either group.
OptiBiotix stated that the study showed its strain has commercial potential as a safe, easy to use, low cost, cholesterol reducing supplement, and The Times reported that the company was in talks with food and pharma giants about putting the formula into yoghurts and cereal bars….”
For the millions who take statins and suffer the side effects, as well as those of us who have refused to take them and feel ill, OptiBiotix may well have the solution.
It could be a revolution in heart medicine – that is, if Big Pharma allow it to survive!
 “Statins: the drug firms’ goldmine” Telegraph, January 19th 2011
 “OptiBiotix interesting big pharma with statin-free cholesterol pill” Pharmaletter, April 26th 2016