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MARKETPLACE:  Auto | Jobs | Personals | Yellow Pages  September 21, 2004
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Anti-Cholesterol Drug Goes Over-the-Counter in Britain
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Britain is the world's first country to sell an anti-cholesterol drug without a prescription.

Johnson and Johnson's statin medication Zocor Heart-Pro (simvastatin) went over-the-counter on Thursday, to the delight of some health-care experts who said the move allowed Britons to better protect their health. But the action wasn't without its critics, reported the Herald of Scotland, which cited experts who feared not enough was known about the powerful drug to allow anyone to use it freely without a doctor's advice.

Earlier this year, the British medical journal The Lancet accused the government of using the public as human guinea pigs in an implied effort to save money, the Herald reported.

Johnson and Johnson has tried to calm such fears, noting that pharmacists would carefully advise patients on whether the drug was appropriate before allowing it to be sold, according to the newspaper.

A four-week OTC supply of Zocor -- intended for people at moderate risk of heart disease -- sells for 12.99, roughly $23 U.S.

Studies have shown that a 10-milligram daily dose of simvastatin lowers the average user's "bad" LDL cholesterol level by 27 percent after four weeks, the Herald reported.


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