Highlight report of a round table meeting held at the Royal College of Physicians, London
There is increased pressure and incentive for Primary Care Trusts to ask general practitioners to prescribe generic statins and switch patients from branded statins. Whilst this seems attractive in an increasingly cost-aware NHS, there are many issues and implications involved in switching statins that are not always fully considered. With statins playing such a vital role in reducing mortality and morbidity in cardiovascular disease, switching to a cheaper statin can seem a good option. However, cost does not always reflect cost-effectiveness.
A round table meeting was recently convened by The British Journal of Cardiology to discuss these issues. The expert panel considered the differences between statins and their safety and efficacy, which patients are suitable for switching, the follow-up needed, the costs to the practice in making a switch, and how patients can be involved in this process and their concordance optimised. The panel looked at the implications of switching patients in relation to both current and anticipated future guidelines for cholesterol targets and the Quality and Outcomes Framework, and at organisational changes taking place in general practice in relation to prescribing.
This supplement is a summary of the presentations made during the meeting and the lively round table discussion. We hope it will help primary care teams weigh up the evidence and think carefully about all the considerations around this issue.