Profiling South Korean Statin Users Leads to Better Outcomes

by Junghwa Lee | Dec 7, 2018

Co-authored by Sungeun Jung, Senior Analyst of South Korea

Everyone knows the value of statin medicines. This miracle therapy class has yielded some of the most effective medicines for treating and reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease.

However, although most patients are prescribed statins because of high levels of cholesterol, it's also common for those individuals to suffer from other health conditions, especially considering that most statin users are 65 or older. In fact, with the world rapidly aging, and the South Korea's over-65 population increasing by four percent yearly, almost 40 percent of the elderly population was prescribed at least one statin  prescription in 2016.                                                                                    

A Complete Picture of the Statin User

To better understand the characteristics of statin users in South Korea, we investigated the prevalence of comorbidities and the burden of healthcare resource utilization using 5 years of Health Insurance Review and Assessment-National Patients Sample (HIRA-NPS) data. 

HIRA-NPS data comprises 3% of the total national reimbursement claims data using a stratified randomized sampling method to ensure the demographic composition - with respect to age and sex. Since NPS data contains approximately 1.4 million individuals per year and is proven to be a representative sample of the general population, our analysis included statin users from 2012-2016 HIRA-NPS, which also reduced time and saved costs for data analysis.

We conducted a cross-sectional study for individuals who take a statin at least twice a year. We then considered their eight most common comorbidities for statistical analyses. We conducted descriptive analysis for demographic characteristics, comorbidity profile, healthcare resource utilization, and cost with age, gender and insurance type as covariate variables.

Our statistical analysis showed:

  • The number of patients receiving statin treatment increased by an average of 12% each year from 2012 to 2016.
  • The mean age of statin users increased from 62.0 in 2012 to 63.2 in 2016, and the proportion of males receiving a statin also increased from 42.7% in 2012 to 44.8% in 2016.
  • Among the 8 comorbidities, the proportion of statin users with diabetes was the highest at 37% in 2016, followed by coronary heart disease at16% and cerebrovascular at 13%. The number of statin user with diabetes, renal disease and dementia have also significantly increased over the 5 years.
  • Statin users with comorbidities pay significantly higher medical costs and statin prescription costs compared to those without comorbidities.

The results of our statin user study demonstrate new trends that were never discussed in the literature, including evidence that statin users are becoming more prevalent in elderly populations. The proportion of statin users with comorbidities has also increased significantly since 2012. The consequence of this phenomenon may have contributed to the increase in total healthcare expenditures among statin users. 

The remarkable results were shared and presented at ISPOR Asia Pacific 2018. The insights that we gained on statin users in this study is important because they can be leveraged to maximize the effectiveness of statin therapies and improve treatment outcomes. Through Kantar Health's knowledge and experience in the healthcare industry, we can build on these findings to explore new markets, such as the development of new combination medicines. Real World Data delivers comprehensive lines of sight to trend in statin users who are at risk of cardiovascular diseases. HIRA-NPS as Real World Evidence provides valuable research that's key in the evidence based, decision-making process.

For further information or any questions, please contact us at junghwa.lee@kantarhealth.com or sungeun.jung@kantarhealth.com.




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