Rationale, aims and objectives The consideration of economic evidence in guideline development may be particularly important in health care management when different (drug) therapies show similar efficacy on clinical endpoints, such as in cardiovascular diseases. This article investigates to what extent the Dutch guideline ‘cardiovascular risk management’ (2006) considers cost-effectiveness and budget impact according to the most recent economic evidence.
Method We carried out a systematic review of economic evaluations on cholesterol-lowering drugs and antihypertensives followed by an assessment of guideline recommendations.
Results The guideline does not consider the most recent economic evidence but does consider cost-effectiveness based on economic evaluations performed in conjunction with clinical trials. Their conclusions are largely in agreement with the most recent economic evidence. An innovative aspect in the guideline is the application of a budget impact analysis to take accessibility and affordability constraints into account when considering cost-effectiveness.
Conclusions Based on the most recent economic evidence, the guideline could be improved by more firmly formulating recommendations in favour of cost-effective drug therapies (simvastatin, pravastatin and low-dose diuretics) to stimulate compliance to the guideline in clinical practice.