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Am J Cardiovasc Drugs. 2010;10(6):369-82. doi: 10.2165/11539150-000000000-00000.

The cost effectiveness of statin therapies in Spain in 2010, after the introduction of generics and reference prices.

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  • 1General Directorate of Public Health, Health Department, Barcelona, Spain.



HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors (statins) are the first-line drugs for use in the reduction of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) levels and prevention of coronary heart disease (CHD) in patients with hypercholesterolemia. Generic statins could change the cost effectiveness of statin therapies in Spain, and more population groups could be included in the recommendations for reduction of cholesterol levels based on cost effectiveness.


The objectives of this study were: (i) to assess the cost effectiveness of available statins for the reduction of LDL-C levels in Spain in 2010, after the introduction of generics and reference prices; (ii) to assess the cost effectiveness of combination therapy using a statin plus cholestyramine or ezetimibe; and (iii) to estimate the mean cost per patient to achieve National Cholesterol Education Program (Adult Treatment Panel-III) therapeutic objectives.


The following treatments were evaluated: rosuvastatin 5-20 mg/day; atorvastatin, simvastatin, and pravastatin 10-40 mg/day; lovastatin and fluvastatin 20-80 mg/day; and combination therapy with a statin plus either cholestyramine 12-24 g/day or ezetimibe 10 mg/day. The cost effectiveness was evaluated in terms of cost per percentage point reduction in LDL-C, comparing the annual treatment costs with the effectiveness in reducing LDL-C. Treatment costs included those for medications (2010 wholesale prices), control measures, and treatment of adverse drug effects. The effectiveness of statins was estimated by developing a meta-analysis of clinical trials published between 1993 and 2005 that met several inclusion criteria. Average and incremental cost-effectiveness ratios were calculated to assess the efficiency of individual statin and combination therapies in reducing LDL-C levels.


The effectiveness in terms of percentage reduction in LDL-C ranged from 19% for pravastatin 10 mg/day to 55% for atorvastatin 80 mg/day. Annual treatment costs ranged from Euro 189.7 for simvastatin 10 mg/day to Euro 759.3 for atorvastatin 80 mg/day. The cost-effectiveness ratios, in terms of cost per percentage point reduction in LDL-C, were: Euro 6 for simvastatin, Euro 10-12 for rosuvastatin, Euro 10 for lovastatin, Euro 13-16 for atorvastatin, Euro 13-14 for fluvastatin, and Euro 14-20 for pravastatin. Rosuvastatin + ezetimibe, simvastatin + ezetimibe, and atorvastatin + ezetimibe were the most cost-effective combination therapies for reducing LDL-C levels. Rosuvastatin was the most cost-effective statin for achieving the LDL-C therapeutic goal in patients at high risk for CHD, with a mean cost per patient of Euro 516. Simvastatin was the most cost-effective statin to achieve the LDL-C goal in patients with moderate or low CHD risk, with a cost per patient of Euro 217 and Euro 190, respectively.


Rosuvastatin should be the first-choice agent in patients with high CHD risk, while simvastatin should be the first choice in patients with moderate or low risk. The addition of ezetimibe to rosuvastatin, simvastatin, or atorvastatin should be the preferred combination therapies when greater LDL-C reductions are required. The cost effectiveness of all statin therapies has increased in Spain after the introduction of generic statins and reference prices.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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