Use of the cholesterol-lowering drugs called statins rose by 156 percent between 2000 and 2005, rising from 15.8 million people to 29.7 million people. Spending on the drugs jumped from $7.7 billion to $19.7 billion annually over the same period.
The total number of outpatient prescriptions for statins rose from about 90 million in 2000 to nearly 174 million in 2005. Each individual spent $484 a year on average on statins in 2000; this rose to $661 by 2005.
Statins include atorvastatin, sold by Pfizer under the brand name Lipitor; pravastatin or Pravachol, sold by Bristol Myers Squibb; fluvastatin, sold by Novartis under the brand name Lescol, and several others.
* Reuters June 25, 2008