Those people who are to decide about health care systems are increasingly forced to identify unnecessary costs and achieve savings in health care. Especially for diseases with high prevalence like illnesses of the heart and the circulatory system preventive measures are very important. This economic analysis tries to clarify whether the secondary-preventive application of the HMG-CoA reductase-inhibitor pravastatin is, apart from the clinical benefit, economically justified in patients suffering from coronary heart disease with average cholesterol levels. In the case of this study, the underlying type of economic evaluation was an incremental cost-effectiveness analysis. The outcome was defined as costs per life-year saved. This retrospective study is based on the results of the CARE (Cholesterol And Recurrent Events) study which has been published elsewhere . When calculating costs we took into account the perspective of 3rd party payers (public health insurance) in Germany. The calculation of cost-effectiveness was carried out for the whole study population in CARE as well as for all patients aged 60 or more years in the CARE study. This was done because the different groups vary by the numbers of avoided myocardial infarctions, strokes and loss of life years. Netcosts for pravastatin therapy, i.e. drug costs for pravastatin minus costs for avoided events, were about 9.54 Mio DM (referring to 1,000 patients treated for a period of 5 years). Net-costs for patients aged 60 or more years were 8.18 Mio DM. The effectiveness was defined as the number of life years saved and amounted to 216 years of life saved (YOLS) in the overall study group. For patients aged 60 or more years we found that 358 years were saved. The costs per life years saved (i.e. the net-costs of pravastatin therapy divided through the number of life years saved) turned out to be 44,000 DM per person in the study group. For patients over 60 the costs were 23,000 DM. Lipid-lowering with pravastatin in the secondary prevention of coronary heart disease in Germany is cost-effective. In those patients aged 60 or more yeas the use of pravastatin is even more cost-effective than in all patients included in the CARE study.