Background: The Heart Outcomes Prevention Evaluation (HOPE) - 3 trial demonstrated that low dose lipid-lowering medication alone or with an angiotensin receptor blocker (ARB)+ thiazide resulted in a significantly lower risk of cardiovascular events compared to placebo in intermediate risk persons without cardiovascular disease. Since use of these medications in primary prevention could have significant cost implication, we report the cost analysis of the HOPE-3 trial.
Methods: Hospitalization events, procedures, medications and study drugs were extracted for each patient. We applied country-specific costs to healthcare resources consumed for each patient. We calculated average cost per patient for the length of the study (median follow-up 5.6 years). Costs are reported in US dollars and discounted at 3% per year. The costs of the study drugs vary considerably between countries and we use the most locally affordable (generic) lipid-lowering medication and ARB + diuretic combination.
Results: In most regions, use of lipid-lowering medication in combination with antihypertensive drugs in HOPE-3 was cost-neutral or cost-saving as the cost of these medications was offset by savings in other costs (events, procedures, and usual medications). Surprisingly, in India and China, the cost of these medications is the main component of overall health expenditures, being more expensive than all other costs.
Conclusions: The use of lipid-lowering medication alone or with antihypertensives agents is cost-saving in most regions by providing significant clinical benefit to intermediate risk persons without cardiovascular disease. Prices for these generic drugs in India and particularly in China are high relative to other costs and policies to reduce the prices of these are needed to ensure that generics are more affordable. Primary prevention using lipid-lowering medication and antihypertensive agents would be cost-neutral or cost-saving worldwide.