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Last Updated: Wednesday, 11 August, 2004, 06:36 GMT 07:36 UK
Pharmacists plan pub health-check
A man with a pint of lager
The people most at risk are least likely to seek advice
Pharmacists are planning to visit pubs to educate drinkers about the risks of heart disease and offer treatment.

Pub-goers will be able to get on-the-spot health checks, including blood and cholesterol tests, while they drink.

The Co-op Pharmacy staff will then offer cholesterol-reducing drugs, known as statins, to those most in need.

The Co-op says the move is necessary because those most at risk - men over 55 and younger men who smoke - are least likely to seek advice.

In trial areas the Co-op will set up stalls in clubs, pubs and community centres.

Statins were previously only available to people at high risk of developing heart disease after consulting a GP.

But since July this year they have been available without prescription.

'At risk'

The BBC's community affairs correspondent Nicola Carslaw says critics believe offering these drugs could have negative effects.

She said: "There has been criticism that the sale of these drugs will encourage a 'live like a slob and take a pill' mentality."

But Co-op pharmacist Naomi Buttell said: "We've come here because often the people who need the information don't come into the pharmacy or go to their GP.

"So we've come to them to explain why they are at risk and what they can do about it."

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