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.
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”
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.