Intended for healthcare professionals

Observations Primary Care

Statins for primary prevention of cardiovascular disease

BMJ 2014; 348 doi: (Published 27 May 2014) Cite this as: BMJ 2014;348:g3491
  1. Azeem Majeed, professor of primary care and head of the Department of Primary Care and Public Health, Imperial College London, and a GP principal, London
  1. a.majeed{at}

Three obstacles are in the way of extending statin treatment to a wider population

Statistics from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development show that the per capita use of statins in the United Kingdom is the highest in Europe and the second highest of all OECD countries.1 Several factors account for the high use of statins in the UK, including the emphasis on evidence based medicine in the training of UK doctors; the 2004 contract for general practitioners, which introduced financial incentives for the management of long term conditions such as coronary heart disease and diabetes; and the NHS Health Check programme, which aims (among its objectives) to increase the use of statins for the primary prevention of cardiovascular disease in England in people who have a 20% or more 10 year risk of such disease.

The UK National Institute for Health and Care Excellence is now proposing to reduce the threshold for starting statins …

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