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Americans pay three times more for cholesterol medication

Category: General Wellness

According to a recent update from Boston University's Boston Collaborative Drug Surveillance Program, the price that Americans under 65 years old pay for statins - which are drugs to control cholesterol - is at least three times greater than the cost that the U.K. government pays for the same medications.

The study, which was published in the journal Pharmacotherapy, reported that the use of statins in the U.S. increased from 103,000 people to 125,000 people from 2005 to 2009, and in the U.K. it rose from 67,000 people to 105,000 people during the same time period.

U.S. private insurance companies paid $87 million for statins in 2005, but that number decreased to $47 million in 2009 due to the advent of a less expensive statin known as Zocor. In the U.K. the price of statins paid by the government was reduced from $17 million to $14 million between 2005 and 2009 for the same reason.

Cholesterol statistics
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that nearly 71 million Americans, or 33.5 percent, have high levels of "bad cholesterol," also known as LDL, which can be detected with cholesterol testing, but only one-third of adults have their cholesterol condition under control. Also, less than 50 percent of Americans who have high LDL levels seek treatment.

Americans are making progress in controlling their cholesterol levels, according to the CDC. The number of Americans with high cholesterol was reduced from 18.3 percent in 1999 to 13.4 percent in 2010.

Lowering cholesterol
To lower cholesterol, the CDC recommends not eating foods that have saturated fats, trans fats and dietary cholesterol. People should also maintain a healthy weight and exercise regularly. Some foods that the Mayo Clinic suggest people eat in order to maintain healthy cholesterol levels include oatmeal and other high-fiber foods, nuts and olive oil.

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