Cardiovascular Drugs and Therapy

, Volume 27, Issue 1, pp 49–60 | Cite as

Generic Atorvastatin, the Belgian Statin Market and the Cost-Effectiveness of Statin Therapy

  • Steven SimoensEmail author
  • Peter R. Sinnaeve



This study examines how the market entry of generic atorvastatin influences the Belgian statin market and the cost-effectiveness of statin therapy.


Using IMS Health data, the Belgian 2000–2011 statin market was analyzed in terms of total expenditure, annual price of statin treatment, and patient numbers. A simulation analysis projected statin market shares from 2012 to 2015 following market entry of generic atorvastatin. This analysis was based on three scenarios regarding the number of patients taking specific statins. Savings associated with an atorvastatin price reduction of 50–70 % were calculated. A literature review of economic evaluations assessed the cost-effectiveness of generic atorvastatin.


Statin expenditure increased from €113 million in 2000 to €285 million in 2011 due to higher expenditure on atorvastatin and rosuvastatin. Although the number of patients treated with simvastatin increased by nearly 800 %, the resulting increase in expenditure was partially offset by price reductions. Atorvastatin is projected to become the dominant product in the Belgian statin market (market share of 47–66 % by 2015). Annual savings would attain €108.6–€153.7 million for a 50 % reduction in the atorvastatin price and €152.0–€215.2 million for a 70 % price reduction. The literature suggests that generic atorvastatin is cost-effective as compared to simvastatin. The limited evidence about the cost-effectiveness of rosuvastatin as compared with generic atorvastatin is inconclusive.


Generic atorvastatin is cost-effective as compared to simvastatin, is projected to become the dominant product in the Belgian statin market and is expected to generate substantial savings to health care payers.


Atorvastatin Generic Statin Cost-effectiveness Savings 



The authors would like to thank Guy Brits for providing access to IMS Health’s MIDAS database. A short version of this manuscript has been published in a local educational journal for Belgian cardiologists (Tijdschrift voor Cardiologie/Journal de Cardiologie 2012;24:333–43).

Conflict of Interest

Financial support for this research was received from TEVA. The sponsor provided access to IMS Health’s MIDAS database with a view to analyzing the Belgian statin market, but did not have any additional role in the study other than financial support. Steven Simoens holds the EGA Chair “European policy towards generic medicines”. Peter Sinnaeve is a Clinical Investigator for the Fonds voor Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek—Vlaanderen, and received a small amount of speaker’s fees from Astra-Zeneca, Pfizer, MSD, Merck and Daiichi-Sankyo, and is the recipient of a research grant (moderate amount) of Astra-Zeneca.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Research Centre for Pharmaceutical Care and Pharmaco-economicsKU LeuvenLeuvenBelgium
  2. 2.Department of Cardiovascular MedicineUniversity Hospitals LeuvenLeuvenBelgium

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