Study Shows Statin Use Has Increased Substantially Among U.S. Adults; Reveals High-Risk Groups May Still Not Have Access to the Medication
Baptist Health researcher and colleagues announce the findings of a study that addresses the recent trends and associated costs
MIAMI, FL – November 14, 2016– A study published today in JAMA Cardiology and presented at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions 2016 reveals that while statin use has increased substantially among U.S. adults in the last 12 years, usage has not increased at the same rate among high-risk groups. The 12-year study of U.S. adults 40 years and older also evaluated the use of brand versus generic use of statin drugs and the relationship drug cost had on patient usage.
Statins, which are the world’s most widely used drug, are a class of medicines used to lower blood cholesterol levels and are a mainstay treatment option for reducing risk of heart attack, stroke and related death. The study demonstrated that among adults in the U.S. 40 years of age and older in the general population, statin drug usage increased almost 80 percent from 21.8 million individuals (17.9%) in 2002-2003 (134 million prescriptions) to 39.2 million individuals (27.8%) in 2012-2013 (221 million prescriptions).
“Using the 2002-2013 Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS) longitudinal data among the U.S. representative adult population showed that while statin use has increased substantially from 2002-2013, the uptake in high risk patients such as those with known heart disease or history of stroke, was lagging as well as its utilization was disproportionately lower among women, racial minorities and the uninsured,” said Khurram Nasir, M.D., M.P.H., senior author of the study and medical director of Baptist Health South Florida’s Center for Healthcare Advancement and Outcomes in Miami. “This is an important finding, because it sheds light on the evidence of treatment gaps and an urgent need for patient centered approaches to assess the reasons as well appropriate strategies to resolve inconsistent adoption of lifesaving treatment options in these vulnerable high risk individuals.”
The study also highlights the last 12 years which showed there has been a significant increase in patients using the generic drug, which is the less expensive version of the actual medication (8.4 percent in 2002-2003 to 81.8 percent in 2012-2013). As a result, in spite of almost doubling of statin use in the time period studied, the overall total national costs of the statin decreased from $17.2 billion in 2002 to $16.9 billion in 2012-2013.
However, it is worthwhile to note that in spite of less than one in five of all statin users consumed branded versions in 2012-2013, it was responsible for 55 percent of the entire statin costs. “While the reduction in costs from brand to generic statins is of paramount importance in the current transformative environment focusing on managing risking healthcare costs, further substitution is necessary,” Nasir said. “It is important to note that potentially $8 billion can be saved if nearly 20 percent of current brand statin users are substituted to equally efficacious generic versions.” The study also noted that use of generic versus branded statin is not only associated with lower overall total medication costs, but also impacts patient’s out of pocket payment. For example, in 2012-2013, the average yearly out of pocket costs for generic statins was nearly four times less than branded statins ($52 vs. $249).
Baptist Health South Florida
Baptist Health South Florida is the largest healthcare organization in the region, with seven hospitals (Baptist Hospital, Baptist Children’s Hospital, Doctors Hospital, Homestead Hospital, Mariners Hospital, South Miami Hospital and West Kendall Baptist Hospital), nearly 50 outpatient and urgent care facilities, Baptist Health Medical Group, Baptist Health Quality Network and internationally renowned centers of excellence. The not-for-profit, faith-based Baptist Health has approximately 16,000 employees and 2,300 affiliated physicians. Baptist Health South Florida has been recognized by Fortune as one of the 100 Best Companies to Work For in America and by the Ethisphere Institute as one of the World’s Most Ethical Companies. For more information, visit BaptistHealth.net and connect with us on Facebook at facebook.com/BaptistHealthSF and on Twitter and Instagram @BaptistHealthSF.
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