Is UK Medicines Licensing Agency a Mouthpiece for Big Pharma?


Here in the UK, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) have recently issued a position statement on their website about statin medications. This has also now been issued as a press release to the media. This statement reads “...people should continue to take their statins as prescribed because their benefits continue to outweigh the risks of any side effects.”

The MHRA is the government organisation that licenses all medications in the UK - it decides if medications work and if they are safe. During the making of $TATIN NATION, I wanted to ask the MHRA about the scientific basis for the use of statins as ‘prevention’. Since none of the clinical trials have shown any life extension when used in primary prevention. However, the MHRA declined my invitation.

This new statement from the MHRA again makes the claim that “statins can save lives”. Therefore, on Tuesday this week I again requested an interview with them. The MHRA replied by asking for more information about the film - which I provided. After that, the line of communication went cold.

It is important to note that although the MHRA is a government organisation, it is not funded by tax payers - the regulation of medications part of the MHRA is funded by the pharmaceutical industry. This can be seen in the FAQs on their website. I think that people should be aware that the organisation that licenses medications in the UK is funded by the pharmaceutical industry. This obvious conflict of interest should be placed at the end of every statement that they publish.

The publication of the MHRA’s press release was prompted by recent media coverage about statin adverse effects and the now famous BMJ article

The BMJ article was placed in the line of fire by Professor Collins of the pharmaceutical industry funded Oxford group. Professor Collins said the BMJ article exaggerated statin adverse effects. A lot has been written about the BMJ article on the web, however, I feel one additional point is of note that has been missed concerning statins and muscle damage.

A study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology found that statins block the adaptive response to exercise. 

When we exercise, we stimulate various physiological changes that make our cardiovascular system more efficient - this is one of the main reasons why exercise is a powerful prevention tool for many diseases. However, it has been shown that this adaptation is blocked in people who take statins. In short, statins prevent us from benefiting from exercise. This is just one of the many things that Professor Collins and the MHRA do not want you to know about.