The Collison Newsletter January 2008

                    DRUGS – THE TOP 10 FOR 2006-2007 *  

My July 2006 and February 2007 newsletters discussed the ‘Top 10 Drugs’ for 2004-2005 and 2005-2006 respectively.


The ‘Australian Prescriber’, volume 30, number 6, December 2007, lists the top 10 drugs for 2006-2007. These were the subsidised drugs (that is, those part-paid by the Australian Government direct to the pharmaceutical companies) prescribed under the PBS (Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme) or RPBS (Repatriation PBS). The tables do not include private prescriptions (ie, those fully paid by the patient). The source of the data was the Drug Utilisation Sub-Committee Drug Utilisation Database (Commonwealth of Australia). 


In this newsletter, because there has been very little change in the top 10 drugs from the last two years, I will highlight the top two drugs in the three categories:

·       defined daily dose (DDD) per 1000 population per day

·       prescription counts

·       cost to the Government (that is, to us, the taxpayers).


Table 1.   Top 2 drugs supplied by DDD/1000 pop/day

Drug 2004–20052005-20062006-2007






1. atorvastatin98.173116.088131.799
2. simvastatin55.96758.70758.072

 Table 2.   Top 2 drugs by prescription counts 

Drug 2004–20052005-20062006-2007




1. atorvastatin8,074,2029,045,27310,000,495
2. simvastatin6,275,5776,355,3056,231,212

 Table 3.  Top 2 drugs by cost to Government 

Drug 2004-20052005-20062006-2007
 Cost to Government ($A)  Cost to Government ($A)  Cost to Government ($A) 
1. atorvastatin460,930,251522,357,695562,234,406
2. simvastatin369,659,052330,247,669309,227,367

 Table 4.  Cost to the Government of the Top 10 drugs 



  Table 5.  Cost to the Government (A$) of the Top 2 drugs 



  Table 6.   Cost to the Government (A$) of the 3 statin drugs within the Top 10 (No1, No 2 and No8 Pravastatin) 



The top 2 drugs are both ‘statins’, prescribed to treat raised blood cholesterol levels. These two drugs now cost the Government A$871,461,773. There has been an increase in approximately $20,000,000 each year from 2004-5, to 2005-6, to 2006-7 (see table 5).


The number of prescriptions for the No1 drug, atorvastatin, has risen by about 1,000,000 each year. The number of prescriptions for the No2 drug, simvastatin, is essentially unchanged over the same period (see table 2).


The DDD/1000/day of the top 2 (statins) drugs, that is, the number of people in every thousand Australians who were taking the standard dose every day is:



98+56 = 154116+59 =175132+58 =190

The DDD/1000/day of the 3 statins in the top 10 (nos 1,2,8) is:



98+56+14 = 168116+59 +14 =189132+58+13.5 =203.5

This means that, in 2004-5, close to one in every six people (1:5.95) were taking a statin drug to lower blood lipids. A year later, this figure approached one in five (1:5.29). Now, one year later, the figure is greater than one in five (1:4.91). (These figures are independent of private prescriptions and prescriptions for other statins).

 Lifestyle Change Versus Drugs 

With a lifestyle change, how many prescriptions for these statin drugs would be required?


Lifestyle changes that would dramatically reduce the intake of the statin drugs include:

·       weight reduction

·       a plant-based, low-fat diet (refer to my book ‘How to Live to 100+ Years, Free from Symptoms and Disease’ detailed on the homepage)

·       regular exercise and stress management, as well as adequate relaxation and rest.

 A Case Study of Lifestyle Change 

A brief case history will illustrate this. GM is a male, now aged 41 years.

December 2002

Weight 109kg, BMI 35.6

Total cholesterol 7.8 mmol/L (Normal range is 3.0-5.5 mmol/L)

Blood pressure 190/110

Exercise - minimal

February 2005

Weight 72kg, BMI 23.5

Total cholesterol 4.1 mmol/L

Blood pressure 100/55

Exercise - walking up to 10km/day

February 2007

Weight 84kg, BMI 27.5

Total cholesterol 5.4 mmol/L

Blood pressure 100/60

Exercise - walking, but reduced

October 2007

Weight 87kg, BMI 28.4

Total cholesterol 6.5 mmol/L

Blood pressure 105/70

Exercise - limited walking (knee problems)


In 2002, his diet was dominantly animal based. By changing his diet to be essentially plant-based, low-fat and calorie-restricted, and by exercising regularly, he achieved the weight loss to the goal weight of 72kg. His diet then regressed due to family illness and stress – hence the weight gain and gradual increase in cholesterol. He is now back on the correct diet, and again losing weight.


To take a drug is a quick fix. It takes time, discipline, motivation and understanding to embrace a healthy lifestyle, to prevent disease and, as illustrated above, to reverse disease if already present.


A correct diet (plant-based, low fat) is one of the most significant aspects of the lifestyle that leads to Health and Longevity.


* Copyright 2008: The Huntly Centre.

Disclaimer:  All material on the website is provided for informational or educational purposes only. Consult a health professional regarding the applicability of any opinions or recommendations expressed herein, with respect to your symptoms or medical condition.



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