Use of cholesterol-lowering drugs called statins rose by 156 percent between 2000 and 2005, with spending jumping from $7.7 billion to $19.7 billion, the U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality reported on Wednesday. "The number of people purchasing statins nearly doubled when comparing 2000 and 2005, rising from 15.8 million people to 29.7 million people," the AHRQ report reads. The total number of outpatient prescriptions for statins rose from about 90 million in 2000 to nearly 174 million in 2005. Each individual spent $484 a year on average on statins in 2000; this rose to $661 by 2005.
Steve - this is no surprise. When the National Cholesterol Education Program, responsible for setting tolerable levels of lipid markers, lowered them in 2001 and again in 2004, it was a given that the number of patients on statins would rise exponentially. That is exactly what has happened.