Do Statins Reduce the Health and Health Care Costs of Obesity?

In this study, Gaudette, Goldman, Messali, and Sood examined whether medical innovation can mitigate the adverse health and spending associated with obesity, using statins as a case study. Because of the relationship between obesity and hypercholesterolaemia, statins play an important role in the medical management of obese individuals and the prevention of costly obesity-related sequelae. Using well-recognized estimates of the health impact of statins and the Future Elderly Model, they estimated the changes in life expectancy, functional status, and health care costs of obesity due to the introduction and widespread use of statins. Life expectancy gains of statins are estimated to be 5–6 percent greater for obese individuals than for healthy-weight individuals, but most of these additional gains are associated with some level of disability. Considering both medical spending and the value of quality-adjusted life-years, statins do not significantly alter the costs of class 1 and 2 obesity (body mass index [BMI] ≥30 and ≥35 kg/m2, respectively) and they increase the costs of class 3 obesity (BMI ≥40 kg/m2) by 1.2 percent. Although statins are very effective medications for lowering the risk of obesity-associated illnesses, they do not significantly reduce the costs of obesity.

The full study is available at PharmacoEconomics.

Citation: Gaudette, É., Goldman, D. P., Messali, A., & Sood, N. (2015). Do Statins Reduce the Health and Health Care Costs of Obesity? PharmacoEconomics.