This is a subject of intense controversy—one of those that can easily start impassioned debates that can, in the right circumstances, degenerate into flame wars. The crux of the argument has two parts:
Is high cholesterol really the clear and present danger it’s been presented as?
Do statins actually do more harm than good?
The first question may seem moot since we’ve had it drummed into us for the past 50 or 60 years that it’s true. However, a goodly portion of what we’ve been told on the subject of nutrition during that time turns out to be politics, not science. (For example, the beaten-to-death dietary recommendations that emphasize carbs over fats and protein.)
Coupled with that is the fact that parts of the research on this are suspect; in some cases, highly so. Consequently, how much or how little of the traditional wisdom on this question to believe and follow is a personal choice that can, as stated, start arguments. It’s one of those things each individual has to study and make up their own mind about. There are some good books on the subject, beginning with Gary Taubes’s.
The second question can provoke equally strong feelings. Statins do lower total cholesterol, there’s little or no dispute about that. The controversy is over the side effects. And like most things medical, they can vary enormously from person to person, from barely noticeable to downright debilitating. Again, every individual is an individual. In my own case, the side effects were severe (and scary) enough that I ditched them and have never regretted it. (I still have to have this debate periodically with my doctor, because he is subject to guidelines that can get him sanctioned if he doesn’t prescribe them; he has to put “by patient request” on the chart so they don’t hassle him about it. But that’s just my own experience and as a very wise person once said, the plural of “anecdote” is not “evidence”.)
The bottom line is the same as it is with most things medical: every situation is individual and we have to do our own homework and make our own choices.