DISCOVERY Netherlands was an open-label, randomised, multicentre study (D3560/L00003) designed to compare the effects of rosuvastatin with those of atorvastatin, simvastatin or pravastatin on low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) goal achievement in a primary care setting. Patients (n = 1215) with type IIa or type IIb hypercholesterolaemia and cardiovascular risk of >20% or a history of coronary heart or other atherosclerotic vascular disease were randomised to receive treatment with rosuvastatin 10 mg (n = 621), atorvastatin 10 mg (n = 189), simvastatin 20 mg (n = 194) or pravastatin 40 mg (n = 211) for 12 weeks. Significantly, more patients achieved 1998 and 2003 European LDL-C goals with rosuvastatin than with other statins after 12 weeks (p < 0.001). Rosuvastatin reduced LDL-C and total cholesterol levels significantly more than other statins, both in patients who were statin-naïve and in patients who had received previous statin treatment (p < 0.05). All treatments were similarly well tolerated. In conclusion, greater reductions in LDL-C were achieved with rosuvastatin compared with atorvastatin, simvastatin and pravastatin, enabling more patients to achieve European LDL-C goals.