Statins to be offered to '40% of adult population'

Two in every five adults in England could be offered medicine designed to lower cholesterol, after health officials lowered the threshold for eligible people. Fresh guidelines from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice) said millions more qualified for statins.

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Statin guidelines 'impact already overstretched GPs'

The British Medical Association (BMA) criticised plans to give more of the adult population anti-cholesterol medicine as it recommendations did not consider the effect they would have on "already overstretched GPs".

Dr Chaand Nagpaul, chair of the BMA's General Practitioner's Committee, said:

While the majority of Nice's guidance is useful we continue to have concerns over the recommendation to reduce the threshold for the use of Statins in patients with a low risk of cardiovascular disease.

In making their decision Nice have failed to take the current pressures on general practice into account, and the further impact this will have on already overstretched GPs and those patients, especially older patients, requiring treatment for other illnesses.

– Dr Chaand Nagpaul

Nice hit out at 'ludicrous' statin controversy

A health chief has hit out at suggestions lowering the threshold for statin use, dubbing accusations of over medicalisation as "ludicrous'.

Professor Mark Baker, director of the Centre for Clinical Practice at Nice, said:

I must remind you that nobody gets onto our guideline groups if they have any significant vested interest, especially a financial interest.

No-one was appointed to our group who had anything to gain from the content of the guidance.

Statins are safe and effective and now they are cheaper it is a good deal for more people to have access to them under the NHS. Doctors have been giving statins to 'well people' since Nice first produced guidance on this in 2006.

We are now recommending the threshold is reduced further. The overwhelming body of evidence supports their use, even in people at low risk of cardiovascular disease.

The effectiveness of these medicines is now well proven and their cost has fallen.

– Professor Mark Baker


Almost '40% of adult population' eligible for statins

Two in every five adults in England could be offered medicine in the hope of preventing heart attacks and strokes, according to fresh guidelines.

Statins may cut the risk of some serious, long-term health problems, such as a stroke. Credit: PA

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice) opened to door for millions more to qualify for the cholesterol-reducing drugs on the NHS by making those with a lower risk of heart disease and strokes eligible.

This lower threshold could see an additional 4.5 million offered the drugs, bringing the total of all eligible people to 17 million, Nice said.

Statins are currently on offer to those with a 20% risk of developing cardiovascular disease within a decade. However, Nice wants to see those with a 10% risk offered the drug.

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