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Call for Government to launch polypill drive

By Lilian Anekwe

The Government should incentivise pharmaceutical companies to produce polypills from combinations of generic drugs, as a powerful means of driving down cardiovascular deaths, a new report concludes.

A pill combining statins with low doses of blood pressure-lowering drugs would lead to major reductions in health inequalities, the School of Pharmacy argues.

Alternatively, ‘secondary prevention' polypills would improve the treatment of people already diagnosed with heart disease and related conditions.

A clinical trial presented at the American College of Cardiology conference in March found a polypill combining five different cardiovascular drugs would be likely to reduce the risk of heart disease by more than a quarter.

The report says patenting barriers to producing a polypill may not be ‘insuperable', and calls for the Government to provide ‘sufficiently robust financial incentives to support the development of older medicines usage in new combinations'.

Report author Professor David Taylor, professor of pharmaceutical and public health policy at the School of Pharmacy and author of the report, concluded: ‘Despite the potential for polypills to augment the population health impacts of public health programmes, progress towards the introduction of relevant products has been disappointingly slow.'

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