New national guidelines in England and Wales will increase the number of adults prescribed cholesterol-lowering statin drugs by an estimated 1.5 million.
Under the latest recommendations, computer software would be used to pick out those aged 40 to 75 years who are considered to be at high risk.
The risk assessment would take into account factors beyond high cholesterol, including age, sex, blood pressure, family history, ethnicity and whether or not they smoke.
Those found to be at risk will be invited to have their risk double-checked, then be given lifestyle advice and offered a prescription for simvastatin, a statin drug.
About 4 million people in England and Wales are already taking statins. The additional drugs will cost 35 million British pounds ($69 million) annually.