Half of people who are eligible for statins are not prescribed the drug in a ‘missed opportunity’ which is contributing to 12,000 needless strokes a year, a study has shown.
Around one third of strokes could be prevented in Britain annually if cholesterol busting pills, anti-clotting drugs and medication to lower blood pressure were prescribed as intended.
Current recommendations by the health watchdog Nice suggest that anyone with a 20 per cent risk of developing cardiovascular disease in the next 10 years should take statins. But research by the University of Birmingham found that just 49 per cent of those eligible were prescribed the drugs.
Similarly only 48 per cent of people with an irregular heartbeat were offered anticoagulants to prevent blood clotting while one in four patients with high blood pressure were not given pills to help…..
…The researchers estimate that approximately 12,000 first strokes could be prevented in the UK each year through optimal prescribing of the drugs. And the situation could be even worse because not all people who are prescribed drugs actually take them.
The research was published in the journal PLOS Medicine.
….A report by University College London calls for the introduction of a “more humane” approach to drug funding, warning that spending in the UK is lagging badly behind that of other countries.
Researchers said “Kafkaesque” systems of NHS rationing meant too many sick patients were forced to face long battles to secure treatment which could prolong their lives.
Prof David Taylor, Emeritus Professor of Pharmaceutical and Public Health Policy, said the values of the NHS were being “distorted and undermined” by systems which left the most vulnerable down.
He called for Britain to reform and simplify its rationing structures, and to increase the overall drugs budget, in line with other countries.
Britain spends less than one per cent of gross domestic product (GDP) on pharmaceuticals, around half that of other major industrial nations, the report says, with just 0.1 per cent of GDP devoted to anti-cancer drugs.
Meanwhile, up to two per cent of the UK’s GDP is spent on junk food, Prof Taylor said.