A woman, 31, went to her doctor for a routine checkup in May. Her lab report showed cholesterol levels outside the normal range (LDL: 117 milligrams per decilitre of blood (mg/dL); TG: 255 mg/dL; HDL: 37 mg/dL). She smokes around five cigarettes a day. Her doctor prescribed her a statin, a drug that acts to reduce cholesterol levels in the blood, for six months. After that, they would retest her blood.

Was the doctor right?

India is in the middle of a statin over-prescription and under-prescription crisis. Rich, urban folks—the ones who can afford private hospitals in big cities—are being oversold statins.

AUTHOR

Gayathri Vaidyanathan

Gayathri writes on health, environment and science. She has reported and produced stories for the Washington Post, Discover, Nature, and the New York Times, amongst other publications. In her last assignment, she was the lead science writer for E&E News in Washington, D.C. E&E News is a news organisation focused on energy and the environment. Over the past decade, Gayathri has travelled across North America, Africa and Asia on long-form reporting projects. She has a master’s in journalism from Columbia University and a bachelor's in biochemistry from McMaster University in Ontario. At The Ken, Gayathri will write on healthcare, the pharmaceutical business and the environment. Based in Bengaluru, you can reach her at gayathri at the rate the-ken.com

View Full Profile

Sign up to our India edition to read this story instantly

To sign up, you’ll create an account that will give you access to a new free story published once a week and archive of 214+ previously published free stories from our India edition. You’ll also receive one email every morning from us introducing the day’s story.

If you’ve already signed up, just enter your email below or login using Facebook or Google.