A new study suggests that many people at risk for heart disease are not getting medication that could help them.
Researchers at the Stanford School of Medicine say cholesterol-lowering drugs called statins, which can help prevent heart disease, are underprescribed.
The study's author says only 50-percent of patients at high risk for heart disease receive statins. Dr. Jun Ma says "people may die prematurely because of inadequate treatment."
Heart disease is one of the nation's leading killers, accounting for more than half a million deaths each year.
Researchers say statins are critical because they cut the risk factors that cause heart disease.
The findings were released Monday in the Public Library of Science Medicine online journal.