Economic burden of CVD in Saudi Arabia to jump to $9.8bn by 2035


RIYADH — The effects of cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) are not limited to health, but can seep into social aspects of life as well and weak havoc on the economy. If go unchecked, CVD is highly detrimental as it may lead to stroke or heart attack due to unhealthy diet, physical inactivity, tobacco use, among others. The effects of behavioral risk factors may show up in individuals as raised blood pressure, raised blood glucose, raised blood lipids, and overweight and obesity.

To date, epidemiological studies have focused on identifying, modifying and treating individual risk factors; however, many cardiovascular risk factors have been increasing at different rates worldwide.

In Saudi Arabia, an authoritative research study revealed that the economic burden of CVD will increase threefold to US$9.8 billion by 2035 from $3.5 billion in 2016.

In a study prepared by The Conference Board of Canada, in collaboration with the Saudi Heart Association (SHA) and Amgen Inc, an American multinational biopharmaceutical company headquartered in Thousand Oaks, California, it was found out that reducing the prevalence of modifiable risk factors in accordance with the World Health Organization (WHO) targets, would lead to savings of $3.7 billion over the 20-year forecast period.

Isabelle Gagnon-Arpin, Senior Research Associate, The Conference Board of Canada, noted in an interview that

The study noted the prevalence of CVD in the Kingdom, with 36% of deaths in Saudi Arabia caused by CVD, while 13% of disability were on account of CVD. By 2035, the study forecast, the number of cases will more than double: Cerebrovascular disease (stroke) would increase to 150%, with corresponding surge in costs amounting to $1.8 billion. On the other hand, ischemic heart disease (heart attack) would jump to 186%, with corollary increase in costs amounting to $8.0 billion.

According to Ms. Arpin, the study indicated that the total number of CVD cases is expected to increase from 201,340 in 2016 to 479,548 in 2035.

However, following the WHO model in reducing the risk factor impact, the reduction goals can lead to over 317,000 cases of CVD being averted.

Against this backdrop, the new medicine Repatha (evolucumab) manufactured by Amgen, and approved by the Saudi Food and Drug Authority is deemed highly effective in substantially reducing the modifiable risk factors in CVDs.

“Reducing LDL-C levels with Repatha in high-risk patients with 100 mg/dL could lead to 233,000 CVD events being averted between 2016 and 2035.”

Further, :cumulative societal value of reducing LDL-C levels with Repatha in high-risk patient with 100 mg/dL is forecast to reach up to $9.5 billion by 2035,” the study noted.

Therefore, efforts to achieve WHO risk factor targets and further lower LDL-C through increased access to effective treatment for high-risk patients are projected to greatly reduce the clinical, economic, and humanistic burden of cardiovascular disease in Saudi Arabia. — SG