Ministers and health regulators were urged by academics and senior doctors to stop plans to extend the use of anti-cholesterol drug statin in a low risk population.
Royal College of Physicians president Sir Richard Thompson was among signatories of a letter sent to Westminster and regulator The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), which warns against the medicalisation of fit people.
AdvertisementNICE published draft guidance in February that suggested up to five million people could benefit from taking the drugs, in addition to the seven million that already do.
But Wednesday's letter claimed that the report's findings were too dependent on industry-sponsored trials that "grossly underestimate adverse effects".
"The benefits in a low-risk population do not justify putting approximately five million more people on drugs that will then have to be taken lifelong," it added.
Proponents argue that the drug reduces the risk of heart attack and stroke by targeting cholesterol in the blood stream.