Cost effectiveness of HMG-CoA reductase inhibition in Canada

Can J Clin Pharmacol. 2001 Spring;8(1):9-16.


Objective: To assess the cost effectiveness of 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl coenzyme A (HMG-CoA) reductase inhibitor therapy, particularly atorvastatin, in primary and secondary prevention of coronary artery disease (CAD) in Canada.

Methods: A Markov model was developed in which costs and effectiveness of atorvastatin were compared with those of other statins and with no drug therapy in primary and secondary prevention of CAD.

Patients: Cost effectiveness was assessed for cohorts of patients with risk profiles defined by CAD status, age, sex, pretreatment low density lipoprotein cholesterol level and presence of sentinel coronary risk factors. Coronary risk was estimated by using initial and subsequent event coronary risk equations from the Framingham Heart Study, and risk factors were estimated by using Canadian population survey data. Recent estimates of the costs of CAD-related medical care in Canada were used to assign costs to health states and acute coronary events.

Interventions: Interventions included atorvastatin 10 mg, simvastatin 10 mg, pravastatin 20 mg, fluvastatin 20 mg, lovastatin 20 mg and no pharmacological therapy.

Results: Incremental cost effectiveness ratios (CDN$/year of life gained) relative to no therapy were lowest for atorvastatin and highest for pravastatin across all risk profiles. Atorvastatin was less costly and more effective than lovastatin, pravastatin and simvastatin in primary and secondary prevention, and conferred additional health benefits at a reduced cost per year of life gained compared with fluvastatin.

Conclusions: Atorvastatin was found to be the most cost effective statin in primary and secondary prevention of CAD.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Atorvastatin
  • Canada
  • Coronary Disease / economics
  • Coronary Disease / prevention & control*
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis*
  • Female
  • Heptanoic Acids / economics*
  • Heptanoic Acids / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors / economics*
  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors / therapeutic use*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pyrroles / economics*
  • Pyrroles / therapeutic use*
  • Sensitivity and Specificity


  • Heptanoic Acids
  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors
  • Pyrroles
  • Atorvastatin