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Free drugs can help prevent repeat heart attacks

By MARILYNN MARCHIONE
AP Chief Medical Writer

ORLANDO, FL (AP) – A study finds that offering people free medicines after a heart attack can help cut the chances they will suffer another one. It also saves them about $500 for health care over the next year without raising costs for insurers.

However, doctors were shocked that only about half of these patients filled their prescriptions even though they got them for free.

Insurance company Aetna says it soon will start offering certain heart medicines such as cholesterol-lowering statin drugs for free or with a reduced copay to some heart attack survivors because of these results. Aetna helped sponsor the study.

The research was discussed Monday at an American Heart Association conference in Florida.

Online:
Heart Association: http://www.americanheart.org
New England Journal: http://www.nejm.org

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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