Statin therapy cost-effective for a wider range of individuals

rincipal investigator of HPS, concludes: "As simvastatin and other statins come to the end of their patent life, the fall in the drug cost should produce a corresponding improvement in the cost-effectiveness of treatment. In the UK, the patent expired in May 2003, and the price of generic simvastatin has already fallen to about 15% of the 2001 proprietary price; as has also occurred elsewhere. At this price, the cost savings from reduced hospitalisations during the treatment period would outweigh the cost of 40 mg simvastatin daily for people with a 5-year major vascular event risk down to at least 12%--or, approximately equivalently, major coronary event risk of at least 4%. It now seems appropriate to consider reducing the estimated level of risk for major vascular events at which initiation of statin therapy is recommended."

In an accompanying comment Kumiko Imai (US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, USA) states: "Whilst the HPS study has shown that statin therapy decreases use of hospital resources, it is not clear how the therapy affects total use of health-care resourcesConducting economic evaluations alongside clinical trials is a viable means to evaluate health interventions. However, if such studies are to contribute to policy debates, it is important to generate information in a way that allows us to do what economic evaluations do best--to inform decision-making about resource allocation that maximises population health."


Contact: Joe Santangelo

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