Articles published by the British Medical Journal suggesting that statins may be harmful are to be investigated.
The journal will set up an expert panel to decide if it should retract two articles saying the cholesterol-reducing drugs had harmful side-effects.
The papers were criticised when they were published in October.
Statins are offered to seven million people in the UK who have a 20% chance of heart disease in the next decade.
The BMJ said Dr John Abramson from Harvard Medical School and UK cardiologist Dr Aseem Malhotra had already withdrawn statements from the articles after some figures proved to be incorrect.
The use of incorrect figures is Malhotra's calling card and the chickens are coming home to roost for Action on Sugar's scientific director. Longtime readers of this blog will fondly recall him from such posts as Aseem Malhotra doesn't know what he's talking about, Aseem Malhotra: Still clueless and Aseem Malhotra: quackery's buddy.
Errors were not picked up at the time by the journal's editors or the experts who peer-reviewed the work, the BMJ said.
Gosh, there's a shock.
The journal said Dr Abramson's paper cited data from an "uncontrolled observational study" and "incorrectly concluded" that statin side-effects occur in 18-20% of patients.
The same mistake was made by Dr Malhotra in the same edition of the BMJ and it is these statements that have been withdrawn, the journal said.
Malhotra has not only made this claim in the BMJ, he has said the same in the more widely read Daily Mail. And, as a practising cardiologist, he is in a position to practice what he preaches...
I often stop patients taking statins when I believe they are causing distressing side effects, which happens in about one in five of those I see... Last month the Annals Of Internal Medicine reported that 20 per cent of those on statins suffered a significant side effect
As I tweeted at the the time...
Aseem Malhotra gets various facts wrong and tells people to stop taking drugs that might save their lives. Nice one! http://t.co/EAtDrDCWF0
— Christopher Snowdon (@cjsnowdon) May 12, 2013
It remains to be seen whether the BMJ settles for withdrawing the specific errors or retracting the whole articles. The complaint about the journal's articles was made by Prof Rory Collins who said in March...
“It is a serious disservice to British and international medicine," he said, claiming that it was probably killing more people than had been harmed as a result of the paper on the MMR vaccine by Andrew Wakefield. “I would think the papers on statins are far worse in terms of the harm they have done.”
It's good to see Malhotra in the news for the right reasons at last.