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3-in-1 heart pill could save millions

Associated Press
Sep 05, 2006 at 04:09pm IST

Barcelona: A three-in-one pill being developed to treat heart disease could save millions, particularly in developing countries where most heart attacks occur, experts said on Tuesday at the World Congress of Cardiology.

The so-called “polypill” would contain aspirin, statins and ACE inhibitors - the three drugs known to prevent recurrent heart disease and used to reduce the occurrence of heart attacks, strokes and other cardiovascular health problems, the World Heart Federation said.

“Potentially, millions of lives could be saved worldwide by this,'' Chairman of the federation's scientific advisory board, Dr Sidney Smith, said at the conference in Barcelona, Spain.

HEART TO HEART: The so-called “polypill” would contain aspirin, statins and ACE inhibitors.

"These therapies are known to reduce mortality by up to 50 per cent or more," he said.

About 17.5 million people die of heart disease each year, with nearly 80 per cent of heart attacks occurring in low and middle-income countries.

The World Heart Federation, which is promoting the pill, said it could be ready within two years.

It would first be tested in Spain, before being exported to markets, such as China, at one-fifth the cost of currently available therapies, it said.

“The fewer hoops we have to jump through to get to medicines, the more cost effective they will be,'' Smith said on the sidelines of the September 2-6 conference, which drew some 25,000 cardiologists, public health officials and representatives from pharmaceutical companies and NGOs.

The polypill would likely be used in patients with a known history of heart disease, and would be far easier for them to take, possibly leading to more patients following their prescriptions.

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