More statins for everybody!

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) says in draft guidance which now goes out to consultation that the threshold for GPs to prescribe statins to their patients should halved from the current value of a 20% risk of cardiovascular disease.

The current guideline has been in place for a few years now, but data from clinical practice seems to suggest that it is not strictly adhered to by GPs. For example, we’ve seen this in our Regression Discontinuity Design project (here’s some preliminary analysis $-$ I believe we’ll arxive a couple of papers on this shortly).

The selection of the value of 20% 10-year risk as cut-off has been kind of controversial for some clinicians, since it was driven (also) by cost-effectiveness considerations. But at the time that the previous guideline was set, the prices of statins was much higher (it has since decreased due to the introduction of generics).

If after consultation, the guideline will be confirmed, this will probably imply a huge increase in the number of prescriptions filled in for statins.

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