Background: There is a small, but growing body of literature highlighting inequities in GP practice prescribing rates for many drug therapies. The aim of this paper is to further explore the equity of prescribing for five major CHD drug groups and to explain the amount of variation in GP practice prescribing rates that can be explained by a range of healthcare needs indicators (HCNIs). Methods: The study involved a cross-sectional secondary analysis in four primary care trusts (PCTs 1-4) in the North West of England, including 132 GP practices. Prescribing rates (average daily quantities per registered patient aged over 35 years) and HCNIs were developed for all GP practices. Analysis was undertaken using multiple linear regression. Results: Between 22-25% of the variation in prescribing rates for statins, beta-blockers and bendrofluazide was explained in the multiple regression models. Slightly more variation was explained for ACE inhibitors (31.6%) and considerably more for aspirin (51.2%). Prescribing rates were positively associated with CHD hospital diagnoses and procedures for all drug groups other than ACE inhibitors. The proportion of patients aged 55-74 years was positively related to all prescribing rates other than aspirin, where they were positively related to the proportion of patients aged >75 years. However, prescribing rates for statins and ACE inhibitors were negatively associated with the proportion of patients aged >75 years in addition to the proportion of patients from minority ethnic groups. Prescribing rates for aspirin, bendrofluazide and all CHD drugs combined were negatively associated with deprivation. Conclusion: Although around 25-50% of the variation in prescribing rates was explained by HCNIs, this varied markedly between PCTs and drug groups. Prescribing rates were generally characterised by both positive and negative associations with HCNIs, suggesting possible inequities in prescribing rates on the basis of ethnicity, deprivation and the proportion of patients aged over 75 years (for statins and ACE inhibitors, but not for aspirin).