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Original article

Vol. 151 No. 3536 (2021)

Utilisation patterns and costs of lipid-lowering drugs in Switzerland 2013–2019

  • Daphne Reinau 
  • Nadine Schur
  • Sibylle Twerenbold 
  • Eva Blozik 
  • Mathias Früh
  • Andri Signorell
  • Matthias Schwenkglenks 
  • Christoph R. Meier
Cite this as:
Swiss Med Wkly. 2021;151:w30018


OBJECTIVE: To analyse utilisation patterns of lipid-lowering drugs and the related costs in Switzerland between the years 2013 and 2019.

METHODS: We conducted a retrospective descriptive study using administrative claims data of persons aged ≥18 years enrolled with the health insurance company Helsana. To enable statements at the Swiss population level, results were extrapolated according to age, sex and canton of residence.

RESULTS: The overall prevalence of patients taking lipid-lowering drugs rose from 8.9% (n = 736,174) in 2013 to 11.6% (n = 841,682) in 2019, but varied markedly across regions, with highest values in Ticino and lowest values in Zurich. More than every third individual aged ≥65 years was treated with a lipid-lowering drug in 2019. Statins were by far the most commonly used drugs (>90% of prescriptions), followed by ezetimibe, fibrates and PCSK9 inhibitors. We observed a trend towards the prescription of more potent statins (atorvastatin, rosuvastatin) in recent years. Total costs of lipid-lowering drugs increased from CHF 222 million in 2013 to CHF 230 million in 2019 (+3.5%), whereas annual per capita costs decreased from CHF 302 in 2013 to CHF 273 in 2019 (−9.4%).

CONCLUSION: The increasing use of lipid-lowering drugs reflects current therapeutic guidelines, but results in high costs for the healthcare system.


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