Millions of heart drugs prescribed in borough

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MILLIONS of drugs to combat heart disease are being prescribed in Wigan borough every year, a study has shown.

A report by the Office for National Statistics revealed that between October and December last year, some 106,952 drugs to lower cholesterol were prescribed by doctors across Wigan borough.

The lipid regulation drugs were the most prescribed drug, closely followed by hypertension and heart failure drugs, which saw 100,849 prescriptions during the same period.

The news backs up reports that have said for many years that Wigan has one of the worst rates of heart disease in the country. Figures released by the British Heart Foundation in 2009 showed that the borough has the highest mortality rate in women in the North West. And Wigan had the second highest mortality rate in men in the region.

Other prescriptions that featured highly on the list included anti-secretory drugs, which saw 74,184 prescriptions and antidepressants, with 73,117. However, there were only 56, 465 vaccinations prescribed during the same period.

Gerry Haydock, Superintendent Pharmacist at PCT Healthcare Limited, said: “In the wake of spending cuts, pharmacists are under more pressure to prescribe the cheaper cholesterol lowering drugs. There are many different brands and they all work as well as each other so it is prudent to use the cheaper ones.

“There are still plans to start checks of all those aged between 40 and 49 to help combat the problem which is Britain’s biggest killer.

“With regard to many of the drugs that feature high on the list, this is down to prevention of other conditions. In the case of antisecretory drugs, they are used to combat heartburn and stomach ulcers.”