HEART attack victims in South Yorkshire are to be the first in the country to be given a new drug which could reduce fatalities by 20 per cent.
Doctors in Sheffield, who have carried out extensive trials with the drug, ticagrelor, say it could prevent one in five heart attack deaths.
The drug has not previously been used widely in the NHS because of its high cost, but health watchdog NICE has now ruled it is cost-effective.
Prof Robert Storey, academic director of the cardiology and cardiothoracic directorate at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals, was part of an international panel that carried out a trial on more than 18,000 patients which found the drug can reduce death and recurrent heart attacks.
The professor, who is also based at Sheffield University, said: “South Yorkshire is leading the way in adopting this novel treatment, which has been shown to save lives compared to the standard treatment, clopidogrel.
“Many hospitals in the UK and other countries have not yet introduced ticagrelor because of concerns about higher costs compared to clopidogrel.”