According to the American Heart Association, 106.7 million Americans age 20 and older have higher than recommended blood cholesterol levels (200 mg/dL and higher). Although the body requires cholesterol to build cell membranes, make certain hormones, and produce compounds that aid in fat digestion, too much cholesterol increases a person’s risk of developing heart disease. The condition of high cholesterol is clinically known as hyper-cholesterolemia, and it occurs when excess cholesterol in the bloodstream is deposited in the walls of blood vessels, particularly in the coronary arteries.
As the excess cholesterol builds up in the arteries, plaque begins to form, narrowing and hardening the artery walls. As this build-up becomes more pronounced, the plaque can clog the arteries restricting blood flow to the heart, which can cause angina and which can greatly increase a person’s risk of experiencing a heart attack.
According to the survey, 52.5% of respondents have greater than 35,000 lives affected by hypercholesterolemia.
When asked if they had any branded hypercholesterolemia agents available on a preferred copay tier, such as tier 2, 72.5% of respondents answered “yes.” A follow-up question prompted respondents to elaborate on which branded hypercholesterolemia agents were preferred; they provided the following list of agents: Lipitor, Vytorin, Crestor, Zetia, Trilipix, Lescol XL, Simcor, Welchol, TriCor, and Niaspan. Furthermore, 60% of the respondents said that they do not plan on having a branded hypercholesterolemia agent on a preferred copay tier when Lipitor goes generic.
When asked about treatment guidelines for hypercholesterolemia, 57.5% of respondents said that their plans had guidelines in place, and of these respondents, 73.9% said that these guidelines are based on national guidelines.
In terms of compliance, 62.5% said that compliance is very important in their practice. When asked how they gauged compliance in their practice, 57.5% said that they utilized pharmacy benefit manager data.