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Spending on Cholesterol Reducing Statins More Than Doubles in Just 5 Years

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AHRQ News and Numbers

Release date: June 25, 2008

Spending on statins, drugs used to reduce artery-clogging cholesterol, increased 156 percent between 2000 and 2005, according to the latest News and Numbers from the Federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). Statins can reduce a person's risk of heart attack or stroke by lowering "bad" cholesterol and triglycerides, another fatty substance in the blood, and raising "good" cholesterol levels.

AHRQ found that spending on statins jumped from approximately $8 billion to almost $20 billion during the 5-year period. Statins include drugs such as Lipitor, Lescol, Pravachol, and Zocor.

AHRQ's analysis of statin use between 2000 and 2005 also found:

  • The number of people who bought at least one statin increased from about 16 million to 30 million.
  • The total number of outpatient prescriptions for statins rose from about 90 million to 174 million.
  • Average annual spending by individual statin users—whether costs were absorbed by the user, an insurer, or both—increased from $484 to $661.

AHRQ, which is part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, works to enhance the quality, safety, efficiency, and effectiveness of health care in the United States. The data in this AHRQ News and Numbers summary are taken from the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey, a detailed source of information on the health services used by Americans, the frequency with which they are used, the cost of those services, and how they are paid. For more information, go to Trends in Statins Utilization and Expenditures for the U.S. Civilian Noninstitutionalized Population, 2000 and 2005.

For other information, or to speak with an AHRQ data expert, please contact Bob Isquith at or call 301-427-1539.

Current as of June 2008


The information on this page is archived and provided for reference purposes only.


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