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CMAJ. 2011 Feb 22;183(3):E180-6. doi: 10.1503/cmaj.100787. Epub 2011 Jan 24.

The potential economic impact of restricted access to angiotensin-receptor blockers.

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Centre de recherche du Centre hospitalier de l’Université de Montréal, Que., Canada.



The use of angiotensin-receptor blockers increased by more than 4000% in Canada from 1996 to 2006. The benefit of these medications over angiotensin-converting-enzyme (ACE) inhibitors has not been proven aside from a reduction in dry cough. We estimated the potential cost savings that might have been achieved had access to angiotensin-receptor blockers been restricted.


We performed a cost-minimization analysis with a decision-tree model using a societal perspective over a one-year period. Sources of data for model parameters included IMS Health Canada data collected from one-third of all retail pharmacies for the cost and use of angiotensin-receptor blockers and ACE inhibitors in each province, as well as published studies for administrative costs and incidence of dry cough. We used Monte Carlo simulations with 10 000 iterations to test the impact of several model parameters (e.g., drug prices, administrative costs and the incidence of dry cough). All data are in 2006 Canadian dollars.


A policy that would have restricted access to angiotensin-receptor blockers might have saved more than $77 million in Canada in 2006. The simulations yielded similar savings for the year (mean $58.3 million, 95% confidence interval $29.3 million to $90.8 million). Every simulation showed a cost savings.


Had access to angiotensin-receptor blockers been restricted, the potential cost savings to the Canadian health care system might have been more than $77 million in 2006, likely without any adverse effect on cardiovascular health.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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