Statins soon to be over-the-counter drugs in the UK
12 May 2004
Source: Mediacal News Today
UK patients will soon be able to get their cholesterol-lowering statins over-the-counter (OTC) at the local pharmacy (no prescription needed). Currently only patients who have a high risk of cardiac disease get the prescription for statins in the UK.
Experts have been saying that thousands of lives could be saved every year in the UK if statins were available over-the-counter.
Doctors have taken this news with some concern. Many feel the motive behind the government’s move is financial, rather than for public health.
More people die as a result of coronary heart disease each year in the UK than any other illness.
Statins lower a persons levels of bad LDL cholesterol. Statins can reduce the risk of coronary heart disease by 30%.
The NHS (National Health Service) spends $700 million every year on statins. In the UK the elderly, the unemployed, children under 18, pregnant women and some other people get all their prescription drugs free – the state pays for them. 1.8 million people in England are taking prescribed statins.
The UK government said its decision comes after months of consultations with experts and patient groups.
People who go to their pharmacist are expected to be offered a cholesterol or blood test, they will also be interviewed by the pharmacist.
Statins should be available as OTC drugs in July.
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