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New cox-2 warning as patients told to see GP

The Joint British Societies will set a 'minimum level of care' for statin treatment at 22.5 per cent 10-year CHD risk when they release their long awaited new guidelines later in the year.

Pulse has learned that the societies see the minimum level as an interim measure and will demand PCTs budget for a 15 per cent 10-year CHD risk threshold as soon as they are able.

The national service framework for CHD currently advises that GPs treat patients with a

10-year CHD risk of 30 per cent or higher and

any move to lower the threshold would cost millions.

A source within the societies' guidelines steering committee told Pulse: 'It would seem an extraordinary state of affairs if the enormous increase in the evidence for statin benefit in primary prevention did not lead PCTs to make major efforts to move to the 15 per cent threshold.'

GPs are divided over the value of making statins more widely available. Dr Peter Brindle, Wellcome training fellow in health services research at the University of Bristol and a GP in the city, said statins were 'overrated' and the new thresholds would 'turn people into patients'.

Dr Terry McCormack, deputy chair of the Primary Care Cardiovascular Society, countered that if PCTs had insufficient funds for statins other budget areas should be cut.

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