“Would you like a side order of statin drugs with that?”

Posted on August 13, 2010

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Concerned about your cholesterol levels but still want to eat a big Mac?  Well, some British scientists just may have a solution for you.

From the Washington Times:

Make that a burger, fries and a side of Lipitor, please.

It could happen. As a public service, British researchers are proposing that fast-food eateries dole out complimentary cholesterol-lowering statin drugs to offset the hazardous glories of their fatty cuisines.

“When people engage in risky behaviors like driving or smoking, they’re encouraged to take measures that minimize their risk, like wearing a seat belt or choosing cigarettes with filters. Taking a statin is a rational way of lowering some of the risks of eating a fatty meal,” said Dr. Darrel Francis, a cardiologist at the National Heart and Lung Institute at Imperial College London.

“It’s ironic that people are free to take as many unhealthy condiments in fast-food outlets as they like, but statins, which are beneficial to heart health, have to be prescribed,” he noted.

Both McDonald’s and the pharmaceutical companies which make the well-known statin drugs had no comment. There are no immediate plans to implement this idea.

Arguments both for and against the idea are pretty much what you’d expect. As a whole, people seem to prefer the taste of high fat, high salt foods regardless of how bad we know they are for us.  So, since we’re “going to do it anyway,” why not readily provide the drugs?  But, handing out free Lipitor or Zocor would almost seem to encourage people to eat more of the bad stuff because they have the little pill as an “out.”  Me, I’m decided on the issue.

Given that this is Great Britain, though, which has nationalized health care, it will be interesting to see if the government steps in and requires fast food makers to ante up the pills.  That way, it might help keep medical treatment costs down for the government in the future, especially since their programs are drowning in red ink at the present.