Ontario, Canada: ‘Cheap Drugs’ Denied To Heart Patients Worldwide: Research

29 Aug

Large numbers of heart patients around the world are not getting the affordable drugs that would help them, a study has foundEnlarge Photo

Large numbers of heart patients around the world are being denied cheap drug treatments that could save their lives, it has been claimed.

Around 60% of individuals with heart disease and up to half of those who have suffered a stroke may not be taking any of four effective drug types, a study found.

In low income countries some 80% of patients were not getting any of the drugs, according to the research.

The PURE study assessed the use of four key drugs in 17 high, middle and low-income countries. In total 153,996 adults from 628 rural and urban communities across five continents took part in the research.

The study showed that aspirin and other anti-blood clotting drugs were taken by just a quarter of people with heart disease, beta blockers by 17.4%, ACE inhibitors or ARBs by 19.5% and cholesterol-lowering statins by 14.6%.

Beta blockers, ACE inhibitors and ARBs all combat high blood pressure and heart failure. Beta blockers are also used to treat angina chest pains and irregular heart rhythms.

Even in high income countries, such as the UK, significant numbers of patients were not receiving drugs that could benefit them, the study found.

In richer countries, two thirds of heart and stroke patients were taking anti-clotting drugs and statins, while half received beta blockers and ACE inhibitors or ARBs.

But in low income countries, fewer than 10% of patients were prescribed these treatments.

The research, led by Professor Salim Yusuf, from McMaster University in Ontario, Canada, was presented at the European Society of Cardiology Congress in Paris. It was published simultaneously in an early online edition of The Lancet medical journal.

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