Monday, December 10, 2007

Cypher Stent Commercial: Not Very COURAGE-OUS

In my last post I took Johnson & Johnson to task for their decision to push stents on the public. Kartik asked that I find and publish a video of the commercial for people to view. YouTube did not have it as of the date of this post but it is available by clicking this link.

Cypher Video

It seems I am not the only one who is having ethical concerns.

From the New York Times

"Not surprisingly, the campaign has stirred criticism among doctors who oppose direct-to-consumer advertising of drugs and devices, and especially among doctors who contend that stents are being implanted too often in patients who might do better with other treatments."

From leading doctors

"It's deplorable," said Dr. William E. Boden, a professor of medicine at the State University of New York at Buffalo. "You've got to wonder whether it's a sign of desperation."

Raymond Gibbons, M.D. Mayo Clinic, "Angiopplasty should be reserved for patients who are refractory to medical therapy for chest pain."

Judith S. Hochman, M.D., of New York University School of Medicine, and P. Gabriel Steg, M.D., of the Centre Hospitalier Bichat-Claude Bernard at the University of Paris, concluded that "patients . . . who have failed to control symptoms remain candidates for revascularization, but percutaneous coronary intervention should not play a major role as part of a secondary prevention strategy."

And, of course, we have the COURAGE trial (the inspiration for this post's title)

which found that stenting is no more effective than non-surgical methods for managing stable (not in the throes of a heart attack) heart disease.

CLICK HERE to watch a short video explaining the COURAGE trial

Stent manufactures will stop at nothing to push their product on an unsuspecting public. Remember, the American College of Cardiology and New England Journal of Medicine actually sanctioned researcher and interventional cardiologist (fancy title for some stent pushers) Dr. Martin Leon for attempting to sabotage the COURAGE trial once it was clear that, contrary to his expectations, it would not support stenting as a superior therapy. More chilling is that Dr. Leon was considered an important and well-respected cardiologist who has held titles such as Chairman Emeritus and Founder of the Cardiovascular Research Foundation, Associate Director of the Center for Interventional Vascular Therapy (CIVT) at Columbia University Medical Center, Director of Clinical Research at the Washington Cardiology Center, Clinical Professor of Medicine at Georgetown University Medical Center, Director of the Catheterization Laboratories in the Cardiology Branch of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute at the National Institutes of Health (that's a mouthful), among others.

Kinda make you wonder just who you can trust! You know, if this were just two "corn flakes" manufacturers competing in the marketplace I would say, "Have at it. Sell me YOUR corn flake." But this isn't about breakfast, it is about cutting people open, it's about life and death.

We all know what is going on here. Since the COURAGE trial and revelation about stent thrombosis, Cypher stent sales have plummeted. The Cypher Stent commercial is all about trying to get past doctors who have started to put the brakes on the overzealous implantation of stents. This, in a word, is DISGUSTING!




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