News & AnalysisPUBLIC HEALTH

Experts Debate Polypill: A Single Pill for Global Health

See allHide authors and affiliations

Science  30 Sep 2011:
Vol. 333, Issue 6051, pp. 1813
DOI: 10.1126/science.333.6051.1813

You are currently viewing the summary.

View Full Text

Log in to view the full text

Log in through your institution

Log in through your institution

Summary

In the past year, the idea of a "polypill" combining several cheap, well-tested heart drugs has gained momentum, although it still has its critics. Pharmaceutical companies represented at the United Nations High-level Meeting on Non-communicable Diseases last week discussed it as a possible preventative measure in the developing world, where cardiovascular disease rates are now similar to those in the Western world. The polypill, its advocates argue, could supplement exercise and a healthy diet in preventing heart disease. But some question whether a pop-a-pill mentality should be encouraged, and many cardiologists are sharply critical of the potential risks inherent in one-size-fits-all treatment of patients who are not at risk.