Healthcare: On the Agenda - 10p polypill could cut heart disease

In a nutshell

A one-a-day combination drug - costing just 10p per day - can halve the risk of heart disease and stroke, according to a new study. Results from the world's first international polypill trial were published online in the open access journal PLoS One. The four-in-one combination pill contains aspirin and other agents that are currently prescribed separately to cut the risk of heart disease, but experts believe that combining them in a single pill will encourage people to take medication more reliably.

The trial

The trial was conducted globally with participants from the UK, Australia, Brazil, India, New Zealand, the Netherlands and the USA. Core funding for the trial was provided by the Wellcome Trust. Professor Anthony Rodgers of The George Institute for Global Health, which led the international consortium, said: 'The results show a halving in heart disease and stroke can be expected for people taking this polypill long term.'

PR strategy

The media outreach was managed by Jen Middleton in the Wellcome Trust's in-house media office. She worked with the researchers and partner institutions in the UK and Australia, issuing the press release under embargo in the UK, and co-ordinating interviews on both sides of the globe (her counterparts in Australia did likewise).

Coverage

The story was widely covered in the UK media. Coverage on Thursday 26 May included the cover of The Daily Telegraph and the cover of the Daily Express. The story also featured in The Guardian and Mail Online.

17% - people experienced mild side-effects in the trial

33% - UK deaths attributable to cardiovascular disease

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