The NHS is facing the prospect of an "uncontrollable epidemic" of heart disease as the population ages amid rising levels of obesity and cholesterol, according to a health expert.
Dr Andrew Carson, a lecturer in general practice at Birmingham University, warns that coronary disease, diabetes, strokes and related conditions will stretch the health service to the limit.
He said: “Cardiovascular problems and strokes are already costing the country more than £14bn a year, and treating them costs more every year. We need a more imaginative solution.”
He cited the £500m annual NHS bill for statins, which are used to lower cholesterol but which do not work on up to two-thirds of cardiovascular patients.
He called for more research into a compound found in tomatoes that is thought to be one reason why the Mediterranean diet is so healthy. He was speaking at the Pharmacy Show in Birmingham, a major national conference for high-street pharmacies.