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BACKGROUND: Cardiovascular disease incidence and mortality have declined across developed economies and granular up-to-date cost-effectiveness evidence is required for treatments targeting large populations. To assess the health benefits and cost-effectiveness of standard and higher intensity statin therapy in the contemporary UK population 40-70 years old. METHODS: A cardiovascular disease microsimulation model, developed using the Cholesterol Treatment Trialists' Collaboration data (117,896 participants; 5 years follow-up), and calibrated in the UK Biobank cohort (501,854 participants; 9 years follow-up), projected risks of myocardial infarction, stroke, coronary revascularization, diabetes, cancer and vascular and nonvascular death for all UK Biobank participants without and with statin treatment. Meta-analyses of trials and cohort studies informed statins' relative effects on cardiovascular events, incident diabetes, myopathy and rhabdomyolysis. UK healthcare perspective was taken (2020/2021 UK£) with costs per 28 tablets of £1.10 for standard (35%-45% LDL cholesterol (LDL-C) reduction) and £1.68 for higher intensity (≥45% LDL-C reduction) generic statin. FINDINGS: Across categories by sex, age, LDL-C, and cardiovascular disease history/10-year cardiovascular risk, lifetime standard statin increased survival by 0.28-1.85 years (0.20-1.09 quality-adjusted life years (QALYs)), and higher intensity statin by further 0.06-0.40 years (0.03-0.20 QALYs) per person. Standard statin was cost-effective across all categories with incremental cost per QALY from £280 to £8530, with higher intensity statin cost-effective at higher cardiovascular risks and higher LDL-C levels. Stopping statin early reduced benefits and was not cost-effective. INTERPRETATION: Lifetime low-cost statin therapy is cost-effective across all 40-70 years old in UK. Strengthening and widening statin treatment could cost-effectively improve population health. FUNDING: UK NIHR Health Technology Assessment Programme (17/140/02).

Original publication




Journal article


Lancet Reg Health Eur

Publication Date





Cardiovascular diseases, Cost-effectiveness, Health care costs, Microsimulation model, Quality-adjusted life years, Statin