Harvard Heart Letter

Better outcomes with generic statins

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They say you get what you pay for. But sometimes, paying less may lead to better results. People who were prescribed less-costly generic statins to lower their cholesterol levels were more likely to take their pills than people who were prescribed a brand-name statin, according to a study in the Sept. 15, 2014, Annals of Internal Medicine. The study compared data from nearly 84,000 people who started a generic statin with nearly 6,400 who started a brand-name drug. Those who took generic statins were also slightly less likely to be hospitalized for a serious heart problem or stroke or to die from any cause. The average copayment for a brand-name statin prescription was $48, compared with just $10 for generic statins. The cost factor may explain why people were more likely to take the medicine and therefore have better outcomes, the authors say.

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