Clinical Director of the HSE's West/North West hospitals Dr Pat Nash has distanced the group from claims that using statin therapy to treat high cholesterol could do more harm than good.

Dr Nash who is a cardiologist said views expressed in research published by Dr Sherif Sultan and Dr Niamh Hynes were not representative of the hospital group or of Galway University Hospital.

Dr Sultan, a vascular surgeon at GUH, said in the Journal of Endocrine and Metabolic Diseases, that there was a "categorical lack of clinical evidence” to support the use of statin therapy in primary prevention.

Dr Nash said statins were a safe and effective treatment for high cholesterol.

He said their benefits had been well validated.

Dr Nash said there was extensive evidence to show statins improve outcomes for those suffering from heart disease.

He said that they had a role in preventing cardiac illness.