With the Express newsapers, we can always expect what they say one day to be reversed a few days later. Nonetheless, today's statin story is quite a strongly worded piece - and was on the front page.
Medical experts furious that doctors will be paid to dole out 'risky' statins
DOCTORS are set to get extra payments to hand out controversial statin drugs to patients who face a low risk of ever developing heart disease.
Published: 00:01, Sun, February 1, 2015
It could mean four in 10 adults, including most of those in late middle age, are put on regular doses in a move that “medicalises” healthy people, leaving them at risk of side-effects including diabetes and memory loss.
Medical experts are angry that doctors are being offered incentives to prescribe the drugs by a government watchdog, which they say is of “doubtful benefit and may cause harm”.
Guidance from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) says GPs should get financial incentives to prescribe statins to patients with high blood pressure even if they only have a low risk of developing heart disease over the next 10 years.
Yet many heart specialists say that for a large number of patients the benefits do not outweigh the risks, which include diabetes, cataracts, debilitating muscle pains, memory loss and fatigue.
They say doctors instead should be advising patients to follow a healthy diet and lifestyle to decrease the risk of heart attacks.
Klim McPherson, professor of public health at Oxford University, said: “This is shocking. Incentivising doctors to dish out drugs to patients who may not benefit and more importantly may suffer side effects is wrong and unethical.”
Professor McPherson, 73, who recently weaned himself off a two-year statin prescription after suffering debilitating muscle pains added: “This should be a matter of individual patient preference with patients fully aware of the risks.”
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