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Statin Drugs Are Now Available Over the Counter

Britain has become the first country in the world to sell a cholesterol-lowering drug without a prescription. Statins are taken by millions of people around the world and have become the most profitable drugs in the world. Until now they have only be available under doctor supervision, but the British government approved the switch to over-the-counter (OTC) status, arguing that easier access would allow more people to protect themselves from the risk of coronary heart disease. Many doctors have voiced concern about the decision, which they contend will result in some people taking the medicine who do not need it. I announced Britain's decision back in May, and am sorry to see that they did not wait longer to authorize this switch. Statin drugs are fraught with dangers, and what's worse is that there are only a very small handful of people who benefit from them--far less than one in 100.

Yahoo News July 29, 2004

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