Study finds statin costs 400 percent higher in US compared to UK

In the United States, the cost paid for statins (drugs to lower cholesterol) in people under the age of 65 who have private insurance is approximately 400 percent higher than comparable costs paid by the government in the United Kingdom (U.K.). These findings, from the Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) Boston Collaborative Drug Surveillance Program, are the first results of a comprehensive comparison of prescription drug costs between the U.S. and U.K. The study appears on-line in the journal Pharmacotherapy.

Expenditures for prescription drugs remain a large part of the ongoing debate on the costs of medical care in the U.S. and U.K. Because of the many complex and interactive variables that contribute to these costs, well-defined estimates of the actual and relative usage and costs for the two countries have not been reliably documented.

Data for this study came from two large electronic , one in each country. Costs were derived from claims in the U.S., while the costs were originated from a general practice research database constructed in 1990 in the U.K.

The study is based upon a 2005 sample of 280,000 people age 55-64 in each country. Statins were prescribed to an estimated 32.7 percent of people in the U.S. and 24.4 percent in the U.K. In the U.S. the estimated annual cost of statins ranged from a high of $1,428 for simvastatin (generic unavailable), to a low of $314 for (available in generic formulation). In the U.K. the annual cost varied from a high of $500 for atorvastatin (generic not available), to a low of $164 for (available in generic). The estimated cost per pill was at least twice as high for each statin prescribed in both countries.

When the annual cost for each annual statin user together with the number of users were combined, the total estimated cost for statin users was $69.5 million in people covered by in the U.S. The total estimated annual cost for statin users covered by the government in the U.K. was $15.7 million.

"In addition to differences in overall use and per unit costs, another significant factor contributing to the disparity of costs appears to be the availability and utilization of generics," said lead author Hershel Jick, MD, Director Emeritus of BUSM's Collaborative Drug Surveillance Program and associate professor of medicine at BUSM.

According to the researchers, simvastin was approved in the U.S. for sale in generic formulation in late June 2006. Accordingly, within the next six months more than 60 percent of users switched from the brand preparation to the generic. The resultant estimated cost was reduced more than 60 percent. According to the researchers, however, it still was four times higher than that in the U.K.

Provided by Boston University Medical Center

3.7 /5 (3 votes)
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Americans turn to generic medications in 2010: report

Apr 22, 2011

(Medical Xpress) -- In a new report released by the IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics, the results show that over 78% of the almost four billion prescriptions written in the U.S. in 2010 were for generic drugs. The ...

Recommended for you

A new tool in drug overdose prevention

19 hours ago

The Center for Disease Control reported earlier this month that the heroin overdose death rate across 28 states it surveyed doubled between 2010 and 2012. This sharp increase and the chilling statistics that say more than 11 ...

Nasal spray treats heroin overdose

Oct 28, 2014

"Every year, drug overdoses are responsible for roughly 1000 ambulance calls in Oslo," says Arne Skulberg, an anaesthesiologist, a PhD candidate at NTNU and the 2014 winner of Norway's Researcher Grand Prix ...

User comments

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

deatopmg
not rated yet Jan 05, 2012
The cost to produce an 80 mg dose of lipitor in the mid-90's was less than $0.001. It's probably less than that now that production has moved to Asia.
ryggesogn2
1.8 / 5 (5) Jan 05, 2012
The cost to produce an 80 mg dose of lipitor in the mid-90's was less than $0.001. It's probably less than that now that production has moved to Asia.

Does this include the non-recurring costs: R&D, FDA testing costs, liability insurance, subsidies to countries like UK...
RobertKarlStonjek
3.7 / 5 (3) Jan 06, 2012
Economic freedom and low government interference in the USA means that drug companies are free to milk the public with impunity. Of course there is competition, but in the USA the competition is to see who can milk more money from a public that can only complain as individuals (no collectivisation).
ryggesogn2
1.8 / 5 (5) Jan 06, 2012
It is socialist systems like the UK that milk the private system.
Does the UK health system pay the full cost of the drugs, to include the non-recurring costs?
Canada does not.
Deathclock
not rated yet Jan 06, 2012
Economic freedom and low government interference in the USA means that drug companies are free to milk the public with impunity. Of course there is competition, but in the USA the competition is to see who can milk more money from a public that can only complain as individuals (no collectivisation).


These drugs wouldn't exist in the first place if there was no profit incentive to create them.

You're welcome.
Vendicar_Decarian
1 / 5 (1) Jan 06, 2012
Ahahaha... Americans are such pathetic Suckers.
ryggesogn2
1 / 5 (3) Jan 07, 2012
"NHS patients are facing a critical shortage of vital medicines as pharmacists and hospitals sell the drugs abroad for profit, "
http://www.telegr...hed.html
How many new drugs are created in Canada?
"Many of the scarce drugs are cheaper generics that yield low profits to their manufacturers."
http://www.bbc.co...15532261
"The simple solution to the shortage problem is to remove the price controls that already exist and not adopt any policies that would increase government's role in setting prices."
"his proposal to extend price controls and reduce patent life on all other drugs now and in the future will ensure our nation faces a famine of pharmaceuticals for years to come. "
http://spectator....hortages
No drugs for Americans, none for Canadians either.
Vendicar_Decarian
3 / 5 (2) Jan 07, 2012
"NHS patients are facing a critical shortage of vital medicines as pharmacists and hospitals sell the drugs abroad for profit, " - RyggTard

Another fine example of how Capitalists are killing people for profit.

"How many new drugs are created in Canada?" - RyggTard

That is impossible to say since virtually all new drugs are the result of government funded medical science that - like all science - is an international collaboration.

Canada has at least 20 drug companies manufacturing drugs, and dozens of universities doing the basic research behind the drugs being produced.

Insulin for example was discovered in Canada, Isolated in Canada, but the first synthetic insulin was produced in Germany and the U.S.

Vendicar_Decarian
3 / 5 (2) Jan 07, 2012
"No drugs for Americans, none for Canadians either." - RyggTard

It is interesting that you would link to the American Spectator to support your Kook Tard comment, since the American Spectator is a well known source of Conservative lies.

From SourceWatch.

American Spectator
The American Spectator is a conservative political magazine founded by R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr. It is most famous for its attacks on the Clinton administration in the 1990s, including the Richard Mellon Scaife-funded Arkansas Project. It is operated by the nonprofit American Spectator Foundation, Inc.[1]
From The Power of Nightmares: ... neo-conservative magazine ... set up what was called the Arkansas Project to vilify then President Bill Clinton. The principal character at the center of this project was David Brock, who subsequently recanted his allegations, and refers to the project now as "political terrorism".

American Spectator Foundation has received $115,000 from ExxonMobil since 1998.
Vendicar_Decarian
3 / 5 (2) Jan 07, 2012
And here an American Spectator "reporter" admits that he started a fire so that he could report on it.

A conservative journalist has admitted to infiltrating the group of protesters who clashed with security at the Smithsonians National Air and Space Museum on Saturday and he openly claims to have helped instigate the events that prompted the museum to close.

Patrick Howley, an assistant editor at the American Spectator, says that he joined the group under the pretense that he was a demonstrator. As far as anyone knew I was part of this cause a cause that I had infiltrated the day before in order to mock and undermine in the pages of The American Spectator, Howley wrote.

http://www.washin...log.html
Vendicar_Decarian
3 / 5 (2) Jan 07, 2012
Why is it RyggTard, that Libertarians always seem to use references to support their Quack Tard comments, that when traced back to their origin, come from lying Libertarian/Randite/Republican scumbags?

Can you explain that to us?

And can you please explain why your anti-welfare hero "Ayn Rand" decided to become a welfare queen?
kochevnik
not rated yet Jan 07, 2012
"Libertarian" is a misnomer. "Blood-sucking parasite" is more apt.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.