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BMJ Open. 2011 Dec 21;1(2):e000363. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2011-000363. Print 2011.

The polypill in the primary prevention of cardiovascular disease: cost-effectiveness in the Dutch population.

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1
National Institute for Public Health and the Environment, Centre for Prevention and Health Services Research, Bilthoven, the Netherlands.

Abstract

Objectives The aim of the present study was to estimate the cost-effectiveness of the polypill in the primary prevention of cardiovascular disease. Design A health economic modelling study. Setting Primary healthcare in the Netherlands. Participants Simulated individuals from the general Dutch population, aged 45-75 years. Interventions Opportunistic screening followed by prescription of the polypill to eligible individuals. Eligibility was defined as having a minimum 10-year risk of cardiovascular death as assessed with the Systematic Coronary Risk Evaluation function of alternatively 5%, 7.5% or 10%. Different versions of the polypill were considered, depending on composition: (1) the Indian polycap, with three different types of blood pressure-lowering drugs, a statin and aspirin; (2) as (1) but without aspirin and (3) as (2) but with a double statin dose. In addition, a scenario of (targeted) separate antihypertensive and/or statin medication was simulated. Primary outcome measures Cases of acute myocardial infarction or stroke prevented, quality-adjusted life years (QALYs) gained and the costs per QALY gained. All interventions were compared with usual care. Results All scenarios were cost-effective with an incremental cost-effectiveness ratio between €7900 and 12 300 per QALY compared with usual care. Most health gains were achieved with the polypill without aspirin and containing a double dose of statins. With a 10-year risk of 7.5% as the threshold, this pill would prevent approximately 3.5% of all cardiovascular events. Conclusions Opportunistic screening based on global cardiovascular risk assessment followed by polypill prescription to those with increased risk offers a cost-effective strategy. Most health gain is achieved by the polypill without aspirin and a double statin dose.

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