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BACKGROUND: We sought to understand the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on lipid-lowering therapy prescribing as a potential cause of the excess cardiovascular mortality seen post-pandemic in England. We examined temporal changes over 3 years in the prescribing of high-intensity and non-high-intensity statin therapy and ezetimibe. SOURCES OF DATA: We utilized data available via the National Health Service (NHS) Business Services Authority (NHSBSA) Information Services Data Warehouse, extracting 3 monthly data from October 2018 to December 2021 on high- and low-intensity statin and ezetimibe prescribing, (commencement, cessation or continuation) through each time period of study and those before, and after, the period of interest. AREAS OF AGREEMENT: Optimizing lipid management is a key component of the NHS Long Term Plan ambition to reduce deaths from cardiovascular disease, stroke and dementia. AREAS OF CONTROVERSY: The COVID-19 pandemic and associated lockdown have seen a significant reduction in prescribing of lipid-lowering therapies. If cardiovascular risk is not to worsen in the forthcoming years, urgent action is needed to ensure that the impact of the pandemic upon optimization of cholesterol and the historical undertreatment of cholesterol is reversed and improved. AREAS TIMELY FOR DEVELOPING RESEARCH: Prescription data available via NHSBSA can support our understanding of the implications of policy and behaviour and highlight the impact of guidelines in practise. GROWING POINTS: Understanding the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic upon cholesterol management and the opportunities for newer lipid-lowering therapies delivered using a population health approach have the potential to enhance lipid-lowering and improve cardiovascular mortality and morbidity and reduce health inequalities.

Original publication




Journal article


Br Med Bull

Publication Date





19 - 26


cardiovascular risk, cholesterol management, ezetimibe, prescriptions, statins, Humans, Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors, Cardiovascular Diseases, State Medicine, Pandemics, Risk Factors, COVID-19, Communicable Disease Control, Ezetimibe, Cholesterol, Heart Disease Risk Factors