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Cholesterol

Volume 482: debated on Tuesday 11 November 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what assessment he has made of the level of serum cholesterol above which the application of cholesterol-reducing measures among populations at risk of coronary heart disease is cost-effective; (233171)

(2) what information he has collected for benchmarking purposes on target serum cholesterol levels in (a) the UK, (b) other EU member states and (c) the USA;

(3) what estimate he has made of the number of heart attacks that might be avoided by treating serum cholesterol down to (a) current quality and outcomes framework levels and (b) the suggested JBS2 target levels among at-risk populations; and if he will make a statement.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) if he will commission research to establish down to what level of serum cholesterol value for money could be achieved in applying cholesterol-reducing measures among populations at risk of coronary heart disease; (233546)

(2) what reductions in serum cholesterol in at-risk populations have been achieved in (a) spearhead primary care trusts (PCTs) and (b) other PCTs; and what the Government’s target reductions are in each case;

(3) what estimate he has made of the effect on the number of heart attacks that would arise from treating serum cholesterol down to (a) current quality outcomes framework levels and (b) the proposed target levels of the Joint British Societies’ guidelines on prevention of cardiovascular disease among at-risk populations;

(4) what information his Department holds for benchmarking purposes on target serum cholesterol levels in (a) the UK, (b) other EU member states and (c) the USA; and if he will make a statement.

It is the role of the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) to set out best practice on standards for treatment and prevention of heart disease.

In May 2008, NICE published a clinical guideline on lipid modification (managing cholesterol levels) entitled “Cardiovascular risk assessment and the modification of blood lipids for the primary and secondary prevention of cardiovascular disease”.

NICE guidance is developed using the best available evidence from the scientific community. When reviewing the evidence, NICE ensures that the implementation of any new guidance is cost-effective for the local NHS organisations.

Around three million people are currently receiving statin therapy to reduce cholesterol levels, saving an estimated 10,000 lives every year, as well as reducing the number of heart attacks.