The drug, known as Pradaxa (dabigatran etexilate), received its licence today and will become available to hospitals within weeks.
It will be used initially to prevent clots after hip and knee replacement surgery when the risk of blood clotting is high.
But the hope is that the drug will open the door to more effective treatments for thousands of other patients at risk of heart conditions and strokes.
Currently, the number of deaths linked to blood clots accounts for one in 10 of all deaths in UK hospitals.
Beverly Hunt, medical director of the UK thrombosis charity Lifeblood , said: ‘The development of new drugs to treat blood clots is terribly exciting.
‘The potential benefit to the NHS is enormous.’
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