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Clinical trials suggest that use of fixed-dose combination therapy ('polypills') can improve adherence to medication and control of risk factors of people at high risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) compared to usual care, but cost-effectiveness is unknown.To determine whether a polypill is cost-effective compared to usual care and optimal guideline-recommended treatment for primary prevention in people already on statins and/or blood pressure lowering therapy.A Markov model was developed to perform a cost-utility analysis with a one year time cycle and a 10 year time horizon to compare the polypill with usual care and optimal implementation of NICE Guidelines, using patient level data from a retrospective cross-sectional study. The model was run for ten age (40 years+) and gender-specific sub-groups on treatment for raised CVD risk with no history of CVD. Published sources were used to estimate impact of different treatment strategies on risk of CVD events.A polypill strategy was potentially cost-effective compared to other strategies for most sub-groups ranging from dominance to up to £18,811 per QALY depending on patient sub-group. Optimal implementation of guidelines was most cost-effective for women aged 40-49 and men aged 75+. Results were sensitive to polypill cost, and if the annual cost was less than £150, this approach was cost-effective compared to the other strategies.For most people already on treatment to modify CVD risk, a polypill strategy may be cost-effective compared with optimising treatment as per guidelines or their current care, as long as the polypill cost is sufficiently low.

Original publication




Journal article


PloS one

Publication Date





e0182625 - e0182625


Health Economics Unit, Institute of Applied Health Research, University of Birmingham, West Midlands, United Kingdom.


Humans, Cardiovascular Diseases, Cardiovascular Agents, Drug Therapy, Combination, Probability, Primary Prevention, Models, Theoretical, Aged, Middle Aged, Cost-Benefit Analysis, Female, Male