Sherif Sultan, a consultant vascular surgeon in Galway Ireland, stated that statins may do more harm than good for people with high cholesterol, but no heart disease. He and his colleague, Niamh Hynes, recommended life style changes to reduce cholesterol and avoid the risk of side effects from statins. Sherif Sultan founded the Western Vascular Institute, a charitable research foundation committed to vascular research, technical innovation, professional and public education. Sultan and Hynes reviewed research data on statins and came to their conclusion based on science.
The Health Service Executive condemned these eminent surgeons and warned them not to liaise directly with the press as an HSE consultant. Dr Pat Nash, a cardiologist and group clinical director at University College Hospital said that Sultan and Hynes's recently published views were 'not representative of those in Galway or neighbouring hospitals.'
What reason did the Irish HSE give for this decision? Where's the science?
According to Wikipedia, HSE is Ireland's largest employer. It has the biggest budget in the public sector (13 billion Euros). The HSE provides health and social services for everyone living in Ireland.
In a previous blog post, I quoted a story of how legal redress is being blocked by Big Pharma, who have penetrated medicine and charities with financial support, making it difficult for individuals to speak out in a just cause.
Here are my simple questions to members of the board of HSE:
The members of the New Interim HSE Board, as of 17 February 2013, were:
- Dr. Ambrose McLoughlin, Chairman and Secretary General, Department of Health,
- Mr. Tony O’Brien, Deputy CEO/Director General Designate, HSE
- Dr. Tony Holohan, Chief Medical Officer, Department of Health
- Mr. Paul Barron, Assistant Secretary, Primary Care & Eligibility Division, Department of Health
- Ms. Bairbre NicAongusa, Assistant Secretary, Finance, Performance Evaluation, Information, EU International, Research & Resource Allocation Division, Dept of Health.
- Dr. Aine Carroll, HSE National Director, Clinical Strategy & Programmes (replaced Dr. Barry White)
- Dr. Philip Crowley, HSE National Director, Quality & Patient Safety
- Ms. Laverne McGuinness, HSE National Director, Integrated Services - Performance & Financial Management
- Mr. Jim Breslin, Secretary General of the Department of Children and Youth Affairs.
- Ms. Frances Spillane, Assistant Secretary, National Human Resources and Professional Regulation Division,Department of Health
- Ms. Geraldine Fitzpatrick, Assistant Secretary, Department of Health (replaced Mr. Brian Gilroy, former HSE National Director, Integrated Services – Reconfiguration)
How many of you depend on pharmaceutical funding for your job, some jobs in your department and your research projects?
How many HSE dinners, meetings, courses and conferences have Big Pharma funded?
How many advisory roles or non-executive directorships do you hold with Big Pharma?
How many HSE committees have co-opted members of Big Pharma onto them to determine policy?
When did the HSE take the decision to ignore scientific research in favour of Big Pharma marketing? How does that sit with your aim of quality and patient safety?