The most recent guidelines on statins recommended that millions more Americans take the cholesterol-lowering drug to prevent cardiovascular disease. But most of this additional population are from disadvantaged backgrounds, making it more difficult for them to obtain the medications, according to a new study.
Under the guidelines, released by the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association in 2013, 18.6 million more American adults were recommended to take statins than under the previous guidelines. But senior author Dr. Fahad Razak, who did the research while he was a visiting scientist with the Harvard Center for Population and Development Studies, found that most of those in this population were from disadvantaged backgrounds, meaning they had low income or education, or were non-white — all factors that contribute to reduced access to health care and insurance. If gaps between advantaged and disadvantaged groups are not narrowed, the researchers estimate that four million Americans would not receive the recommended treatment.