15 Nov 2008

International trials for NZ heart pill

8:57 pm on 15 November 2008

International trials of a new medicine devised by researchers at the University of Auckland to combat cardiovascular disease are about to get under way.

The single pill contains four drugs that each reduce risk factors such as high cholesterol and blood pressure and would eliminate the need to take the drugs separately.

The 12-week trial of the so-called "polypill" will involve 400 people from New Zealand and others from Australia, Brazil, India, the Netherlands, Britain and the United States.

Lead investigator Professor Anthony Rodgers says the trial will involve men in their 50s and women in their 60s or younger if they show many risk factors.

He says if the pill becomes available in a couple of years' time, it will cost about $30 a year, much less than what the four drugs cost separately.

The pill is a culmination of a five-year public private partnership with an Indian company.