Wednesday, April 15, 2009


"A pill which could prevent hundreds of thousands of deaths from heart disease, the biggest killer across the Western world, has been shown to be safe and effective in its first trials on humans. The magic bullet, containing five medicines in a single capsule, sharply reduced cholesterol and blood pressure levels and has the potential to "halve cardiovascular events in average middle-aged individuals", the researchers say. The finding is a major boost for a medication with huge potential against the worldwide epidemic of heart disease and stroke. Doctors say that, if further trials prove successful, all men aged over 50 and women aged over 60 should be offered the pill in what would be the first example of mass medication for the middle-aged in Britain. Yet no Western pharmaceutical company has shown interest in developing the so-called polypill because it does not promise big profits. It would sell for pennies because its five constituent medicines are cheap, have been around for decades and their patents have expired." (Independent, 31 March) RD

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