Tue, Jul 23, 2013 - Page 3 News List

BHNI expands coverage of drugs that lower lipids

By Alison Hsiao  /  Staff reporter

The Bureau of National Health Insurance (BNHI) is to expand its coverage of lipid-lowering agents to help treat patients with cardiovascular diseases or diabetes.

Starting on Aug. 1, patients with a low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) level that is greater than or equal to 100mg/dL will be eligible to receive pharmaceuticals to treat the condition under the National Health Insurance, a relaxation from the previous threshold of 130mg/dL, the bureau said.

Hyperlipidemia occurs when a person has unusually high levels of lipids (fats) or lipoproteins in their blood, including cholesterol and triglycerides.

A risk factor in four of the 10 leading causes of death in the nation — heart disease, cerebrovascular disease, diabetes and hypertension-related diseases — it is important to treat hyperlipidemia early to reduce the risk of the condition leading to cardiovascular and metabolic diseases, the agency said.

An estimated 300,000 people will be benefited by the expansion of the coverage, with each set to save approximately NT$10,000 (US$334) annually in medical costs, according to the bureau.

While the bureau projects it will spend NT$2.75 billion more on the drugs in the next five years, the wider coverage is expected to reduce the cost of treatment for coronary artery diseases by NT$2.04 billion and that of strokes by NT$2.16 billion, meaning total savings of about NT$1.45 billion, it said.

The bureau said the change brings national treatment guidelines in line with international standards.

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