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The PolyPill is back, and this time it is for real. The idea that everyone is sick and must be given a pharmaceutical medication to suppress disease symptoms (or markers in the blood) is so endemic in society that people will swallow such a concept daily.
Valentin Fuster, M.D., Ph.D., director of the Mount Sinai Cardiovascular Institute in New York, unveiled plans for the polypill in a press briefing at the World Congress of Cardiology.(1) Dr. Fuster said that patients would be more willing to take one pill than three pills. Spain is a victim of "industrial disease", that is, as the economy of the nation has improved, so has the incidence of heart disease.
Previous articles in this column about the PolyPill (2) (3) described details of a proposed single-dose daily medication for everyone over 55, with six ingredients: a statin, aspirin, folic acid, and three antihypertensives. The only ingredient in the original recipe that might actually be of some benefit (folic acid) has been removed, instead of combining it with other vitamins to reduce homocysteine.
The Spanish public will be the first to be given their daily dose of the new "preventative" medicine that is more likely to kill than cure them: a previous article in this column warned about the dangers of statins.(4) If "successful", the next victims will be the Chinese people.
One possible reason for peddling this medical cocktail could be that medicines with expired patents are no longer profitable to pharmaceutical companies. A patented combination of three of these defunct drugs is an unique product that could bring in money for the manufacturer. Meanwhile people in developing countries can feel justified in eating a junk food diet associated with increased wealth, as they are "protected" by their magic chemical concoction.
1. "Spain may lead world with heart 'polypill' in 2009" Reuters news, 02 Sep 2006.
2. "One Diet Fits All with the Polymeal"
3. "Folate Wouldn't Work in Polypill"
4. "Alternatives to Statins"
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