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Comparative Effectiveness of Generic and Brand-Name Statins on Patient Outcomes FREE

[+] Article, Author, and Disclosure Information

The full report is titled “Comparative Effectiveness of Generic and Brand-Name Statins on Patient Outcomes. A Cohort Study.” It is in the 16 September 2014 issue of Annals of Internal Medicine (volume 161, pages 400-407). The authors are J.J. Gagne, N.K. Choudhry, A.S. Kesselheim, J.M. Polinski, D. Hutchins, O.S. Matlin, T.A. Brennan, J. Avorn, and W.H. Shrank.


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Summaries for Patients are presented for informational purposes only. These summaries are not a substitute for advice from your own medical provider. If you have questions about this material, or need medical advice about your own health or situation, please contact your physician. The summaries may be reproduced for not-for-profit educational purposes only. Any other uses must be approved by the American College of Physicians.


Ann Intern Med. 2014;161(6):I-30. doi:10.7326/P14-9033
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What is the problem and what is known about it so far?

Statins are drugs that decrease the amount of lipid (fat) in the blood and prevent heart attacks and strokes.

Why did the researchers do this particular study?

Some people who take statins do not take the full amount their physicians prescribe because the drugs cost too much.

Who was studied?

People aged 65 years or older with Medicare insurance that included prescription drug coverage. This coverage nearly always enables the patient to pay less for generic statins than for brand-name ones.

How was the study done?

The researchers combined information from different electronic files maintained by Medicare and a large national pharmacy benefits manager.

What did the researchers find?

Compared with patients who initiated a brand-name statin, those who initiated a generic statin during the study had lower copayments for their prescriptions; took more of the drugs; and had fewer occurrences of death from any cause, hospitalization for a heart attack, or hospitalization for a stroke.

What were the limitations of the study?

The results do not necessarily apply to patients with other types of insurance.

What are the implications of the study?

Lower copayments can lead to better patient outcomes.

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