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Confusion over statin script rules

Confusion is mounting over Government policy on NHS eligibility for statins, in the wake of the controversial decision to make the drugs available over the counter.

The Department of Health last week made clear it expects GPs to turn away most patients with a 10-year CHD risk of 15-30 per cent and tell them they can buy the drugs over the counter.

However, a spokeswoman admitted there may be exceptions where patients in the 15-30 per cent risk group should have a statin prescribed because of additional risks.

The policy is at odds with recent British Hypertension Society guidelines calling for all patients in the 15-30 per cent risk group to be made eligible for statin prescription.

Pulse has learned that the influential Joint British Societies will add their voice to this demand later in the year.

The department spokeswoman said there were no plans to update the guidance until NICE reports back on statins in autumn 2005. NICE will have to consider the cost implications of a move that could make 20 per cent of UK adults eligible for treatment.

Professor Neil Poulter, president of the British Hypertension Society, said: 'The facts are that the evidence supports these drugs.'

lStatin dose warning, page 4

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