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Is Livalo the Most Affordable Statin?

January 11, 2021

high drug prices

According to the World Health Organization's (WHO) latest annual report of the leading causes of death worldwide, cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) remain the globe's deadliest disease. Released in December 2020, the top 10 list features three CVDs at the top, including the leading killer worldwide, ischemic heart disease.

Ischemic heart disease has topped the WHO's annual list for two decades, each year killing more and more people around the globe. Since 2000, the number of deaths from heart disease has increased by more than 2 million. In 2019, nearly 9 million people died from heart disease. Heart disease represents roughly 16% of total deaths from all causes around the world.

Because of the prevalence and danger of ischemic heart disease (and other CVDs), pharmaceutical companies have poured billions of dollars into drug research and development. The result is dozens of medications to battle heart disease — especially one of its leading causes, high cholesterol.

One of those medications, Livalo, does more than just lower cholesterol, and is also one of the more affordable prescription medication options for high cholesterol — but that doesn't mean that it's cheap.

What Is Livalo?

Livalo (pitavastatin) is the brand name for a preventative prescription medication used to help improve cholesterol levels in individuals dealing with high cholesterol. Taken daily in tablet form, Livalo helps lower cholesterol in the body and in turn, prevent the likelihood of heart disease in individuals.

Understanding Cholesterol and Its Role in Heart Disease

High cholesterol is the leading contributor to ischemic heart disease in the United State and around the world. Abnormally high cholesterol is a dangerous health condition that needs to be treated, either with behavioral modification, drugs, or both.

More than 102 million adults in the United States alone have cholesterol levels over 200 mg/dl (milligrams per deciliter), putting them above healthy levels. Of those 102 million Americans, roughly 30%, or just over 30 million, have cholesterol levels above 240 mg/dl. Those 30 million-plus Americans are at increased risk for both heart disease and stroke.

Where Does Cholesterol Come From?

Most of the cholesterol in the body is found in the blood and is created by your liver. In fact, a healthy liver creates all of the cholesterol your body needs to function properly. Diets high in saturated fats add more cholesterol to the body, as do poor exercise habits.

Good and Bad Cholesterol

Cholesterol is carried through your blood by lipoproteins. The two most commonly known lipoproteins are high-density lipoproteins (HDL) and low-density lipoproteins (LDL). HDL is considered "good" cholesterol while LDL is "bad" cholesterol.

HDL can be maintained or improved by simply eating healthy and getting appropriate levels of exercise, as well as avoiding too many saturated fats and unhealthy habits like smoking. Conversely, LDL often increases due to poor diet or a lack of physical activity.

Cholesterol and Heart Disease

As bad cholesterol is carried throughout the body, it will begin to build up on artery walls. Over time, this build-up develops into a hard plaque lining the artery walls, eventually narrowing the arteries. As the arteries narrow, the flow of blood will slow, limiting oxygen reaching the heart and brain. This is what is referred to as heart disease, and medication is used to limit or stop additional plaque buildup.

When left untreated, the cholesterol buildup can block arteries completely, preventing enough oxygen from reaching the heart or brain. When arteries leading to the heart are blocked completely (or nearly completely), the result is a heart attack. When arteries leading to the brain are blocked, the result is a stroke.

Managing Cholesterol with Livalo

As mentioned above, Livalo works by lowering cholesterol in the blood to help prevent or manage heart disease. Also known by its generic name, pitavastatin, Livalo is one of many statin medications available today. Statins are the most common cholesterol-lowering drugs.

Types of Statins

Livalo and the rest of the statin class of medications are lipid-lowering medications that specifically target LDL cholesterol.

There are many medications that can be used to monitor or manage cholesterol, but statins have proven to be the most commonly prescribed due to their effectiveness at lowering cholesterol in the blood. In addition to Livalo, some common statin medications include atorvastatin (brand name Lipitor), rosuvastatin (Crestor), and fluvastatin (Lescol), among others.

Statins work by limiting the cholesterol produced by the liver as well as actively reducing the cholesterol already present in the blood. By limiting production and removing current cholesterol, Livalo and other statins can lower cholesterol in the body to healthier levels.

Livalo is one of the few statin medications that can even increase levels of HDL, or good cholesterol, in the body, essentially working twice as effectively as a statin that only lowers bad cholesterol. Livalo is also more effective at lower doses, according to clinical trials. A 4 mg dose of Livalo (pitavastatin) is just as effective as a 20 mg dose of Lipitor (atorvastatin) and a 40 mg dose of Zocor (simvastatin) and is more effective than a 40 mg dose of Pravachol (pravastatin).

Is Livalo The Most Affordable Statin?

With so many statin medications available, it can be difficult to understand why one statin is better than others in each situation. In general, important factors to consider are the age of a patient, other medical conditions, and other medications currently being taken. Livalo is often a favorite choice because it has reduced risk of interacting negatively with other medications, infrequent side effects, and is proven to lower LDL (bad) cholesterol while raising HDL (good) cholesterol.

While prescription medication costs can fluctuate, another advantage of Livalo is that it is often a more affordable option for statin medications, especially after various coupons and discounts are taken into account.

In general, in the United States, a 30-day supply of 2 mg Livalo will cost roughly $372. A daily medication, that means Livalo costs just over $12 per pill or per day ($12.40). A two-month supply will cost $684, or $11.40 per pill, while a three-month supply of Livalo costs $999, or $11.10 per day.

Compare that to Lipitor, another brand name statin medication commonly prescribed in the United States and around the world. A 30-day supply of 2 mg Lipitor tablets in the US will cost $393, or $13.10 per pill. The 60-day and 90-day supplies are also slightly more expensive, checking in at $723 ($12.05 per pill) and $1053 ($11.70 per pill), respectively.

Available as the Generic Pitavastatin

Further adding to the affordability of Livalo (pitavastatin) is the availability of the generic drug pitavastatin. While pitavastatin oral tablet is available as the brand-name drugs Livalo and others, it is also available as a generic drug. Generic drugs almost always cost less than the brand-name version.

In some cases, however, the generic medications may not be available in all the same strengths or forms as the brand-name drug and are not always as readily available at local pharmacies as their brand name equivalents.

The generic pitavastatin is available from NorthWestPharmacy.com.

Cost of Livalo In Internationally vs. the United States

While coupons and discounts for Livalo are available in the United States, even with them, the price of Livalo is significantly higher than it is in Canada or many other countries — not to mention the rest of the world.

As mentioned above, a single month's supply of the brand name Livalo costs nearly $400. At NorthWestPharmacy.com, that same 30-day supply of Livalo costs $73.69, less than 20% of the cost in the United States. Instead of costing $12.40 per 2 mg tablet, Livalo through NorthWestPharmacy.com costs just $2.45 per pill.

At NorthWestPharmacy.com, we also have the generic alternative, pitavastatin, readily available. You can save even further by going this route, spending just $45.29 for a 30-day supply of 2 mg tablets, or $1.52 per pill.

Why is Livalo More Expensive in the United State?

A question we hear from our customers often is, "Why is this medication so much more expensive in the United States than in Canada or elsewhere?" The question is a complex one that has much history to it (a history we detailed in a previous article). While the answer can be complex, the main reason for the high cost of drugs in the United States is a lack of price regulation.

Lack of Government Regulation

The most significant factor in higher Livalo costs in the United States is the lack of government rules and regulations related to pricing for pharmaceutical manufacturers and distribution. This is a dramatic difference from other countries around the world, including Canada, where the national government takes an active role in regulating what drug companies can charge for prescription medication.

Instead of government regulations determining the cost of Livalo and other prescription medications, drug companies are allowed to set prices however they please — there is no regulating body that can tell them that they are charging too much, regardless of how crucial their drug might be to saving lives. At the same time, the patent system protects drug companies from competition — meaning that they often can keep prices abnormally high for decades before competition from generic drugs can lower costs.

There are dozens of examples of medications being overpriced in the United States. A quick look at NorthWestPharmacy.com will make it easy to see that the majority of prescription medications cost far more in America than internationally. The cost of Livalo is just one of the many examples.

Finding Affordable Livalo Internationally

High cholesterol affects hundreds of millions of people around the world and heart disease continues to kill more people globally every year. It is an easy disease to develop but can be managed with high success rates if caught early and if prescription medication is readily available.

There is no reason that those suffering the effects of heart disease (or any disease) shouldn't be able to get Livalo or its generic counterpart at affordable rates to help treat their symptoms. However, many are unable to get Livalo and other medications due to their cost.

Fortunately, many Americans struggling to afford prescription medications have discovered that they can look internationally to find those same medications at far more affordable rates.

At NorthWestPharmacy.com, we want to help people access the medications they need at a reasonable price. Not only do we strive to have the best price for you, but we look to make it as easy as possible by providing delivery of your prescriptions right to your door. If you need assistance with your order or have any questions at all, our dedicated customer service representatives are always available to help.

Ordering your prescription medications from a certified discount online Canadian pharmacy site and international drugstore can save you money. To find out how or for more information, contact us today by calling our toll-free number 1-866-539-5330 or send us an email at CustomerService@NorthWestPharmacy.com.

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