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The Lancet warns of drugs risk.

A leading medical journal today accused the Government of using the public as human guinea pigs by allowing cholesterol-lowering drugs to be sold over-the-counter.

In an editorial, The Lancet said the risks of easily available access to statin drugs were unknown, and there was no evidence that the move will save lives.

It suggested that the real reason for introducing over-thecounter statins was to save money, with the drugs expected to cost the NHS more than pounds 2 billion a year by 2010.

From July, the statin drug simvastatin will be available without prescription in the UK. The drug will be sold at chemist shops to people at moderate risk of heart disease. When the change takes place, Britain will be the first country in the world to permit overthe-counter (OTC) sales of statins.

The Lancet pointed out that there had been no trials of OTC statins for primary prevention of heart disease.
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Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:May 21, 2004
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