One in four people with diabetes are not taking the right medicine, according to a study by pharmacists.
Scores of diabetics are not being prescribed life-saving drugs, placing them at greater risk of heart disease and stroke, the British Pharmaceutical Conference will be told this week.
Diabetes patients over the age of 40 should take medication to reduce their cholesterol levels and to prevent the formation of blood clots. But researchers from the University of Sunderland who surveyed patient records in one GP surgery found a quarter were not on the correct drugs.
Researcher Wasim Baqir said: "This project shows that despite their high cardiovascular risk, one in four patients are not being treated with prophylactic medicines that could prevent death from complications."
There are 2.3 million people with diabetes in the UK with another half a million unaware they have the condition. Around 80 per cent will die from heart disease.
A Department of Health spokeswoman said: "It is vital that people with diabetes receive treatment to enable them to manage their condition and reduce the risk of complications."