Professor Michael Oliver, a former leading heart specialist, has said that millions of healthy older people are being prescribed drugs that they don’t need, due to the way GPs are paid and the way the Health Service Guidelines encourage the use of drugs for high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes.
In the British Medical Journal online, Professor Oliver, who was professor emeritus of cardiology at the University of Edinburgh, said that the side effects of these drugs are being overlooked in a surge of preventative prescribing.
‘What kind of medicine is this?’ he asked. ‘It is politics taking preference over professionalism, obsession with government targets superseding common sense, paternalism replacing personal advice.’ Prescribing a drug is easier than listening and understanding. Weight loss, exercise and dietary changes would in many cases be more effective and far safer than adding endlessly to a regimen of medication.
Hurray for some common sense. And, let us add, there are many safe and effective options for preventing or tackling common health problems, such as Cynara for cholesterol or Crataegus [picture] for high blood pressure.