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OTC statins 'recipe for disaster' for GPs

GPs have expressed doubts over the safety, efficacy and workload implications of a groundbreaking Government strategy to make statins available over the counter to any patient at 'moderate risk' of coronary heart disease.

Health Secretary John Reid hopes pharmacists will be free to sell 10mg simvastatin to any man over 55, or any other person at moderate risk, within six months. The proposal, a world first, is out for consultation until the new year.

Dr Chaand Nagpaul, a member of the GPC prescribing sub-committee and a GP in Middlesex, said the plan was a 'recipe for disaster'. He said GPs would be left to 'pick up the pieces', with low-risk patients swamping practices for advice and blood tests.

RCGP prescribing spokesman Dr Jim Kennedy, a Middlesex GP, said: 'There is little evidence of statins being beneficial for those at lower risk.'

The Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency conceded there were 'no direct studies in the moderate-risk population' but said it was 'reasonable to assume' a daily 10mg dose could cut CHD risk over three years by up to a third.

 · Full story, page 3

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