Fast food outlets could hand out cholesterol-lowering drugs in the same way they supply ketchup as a way of combating the effects of fatty food, researchers have said. A statin pill could offset the increased risk to the heart caused by the fat in a 7oz hamburger with cheese and a small milkshake. The cost would be less than 5p per customer - the same as a sachet of ketchup. Writing in the American Journal of Cardiology, Dr Darrel Francis said his idea was about reducing harm in the same way that people who smoke are encouraged to use filters and those who drive are told to wear seatbelts. He took data from trials of almost 43,000 people to calculate whether the statins could override the effects of eating a junk food diet. He added: “Routine accessibility of statins in establishments providing unhealthy food might be a rational modern means to offset the cardiovascular risk. Fast food outlets already offer free condiments to supplement meals. "A free statin-containing accompaniment would offer cardiovascular benefits, opposite to the effects of equally available salt, sugar, and high-fat condiments." Statins are already taken by millions of people in the UK to reduce the risk of suffering a heart attack or stroke, and work by lowering levels of bad cholesterol in the blood.