Cost-Effectiveness of the CNIC-Polypill Strategy Compared with Separate Monocomponents in Secondary Prevention of Cardiovascular and Cerebrovascular Disease in Portugal: The MERCURY Study

Carlos Aguiar, Francisco Araujo, Gabriel Rubio-Mercade, David Carcedo, Silvia Paz, Jose María Castellano, Valentín Fuster

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Background: Cardiovascular (CV) diseases remain a leading and costly cause of death globally. Patients with previous CV events are at high risk of recurrence. Secondary prevention therapies improve CV risk factor control and reduce disease costs. Objectives: To assess the cost-effectiveness of a CV polypill strategy (CNIC-Polypill) compared with the loose combination of monocomponents to improve the control of CV risk factors in patients with previous coronary heart disease or stroke. Methods: A Markov model cost-utility analysis was developed using 4 health states, SMART risk equation, and 3-month cycles for year 1 and annual cycles thereafter, over a lifetime horizon from the perspective of the National Health System in Portugal (base case). The NEPTUNO study, Portuguese registries, mortality tables, official reports, and the literature were consulted to define effectiveness, epidemiological costs, and utility data. Outcomes were costs (estimated in 2020 euros) per life-year (LY) and quality-adjusted LY (QALY) gained. A 4% discount rate was applied. Alternative scenarios and one-way and probabilistic sensitivity analyses tested the consistency and robustness of results. Results: The CNIC-Polypill strategy in secondary prevention provides more LY and QALY, at a higher cost, than monocomponents. The incremental cost-utility ratio is €1557/QALY gained. Assuming a willingness-to-pay threshold of €30 000/QALY gained, there is a 79.7% and a 44.4% probability of the CNIC-Polypill being cost-effective and cost-saving, respectively, compared with the loose combination of monocomponents. Results remain consistent in the alternative scenarios and robust in the sensitivity analyses. Discussion: The model reflects increments in the number of years patients would live and in quality of life with the CNIC-Polypill. The clinical effectiveness of the CNIC-Polypill strategy initially demonstrated in the NEPTUNO study has been recently corroborated in the SECURE trial. The incremental cost of the CNIC-Polypill strategy emerges slightly above the comparator, but willingness-to-pay estimates and sensitivity analyses indicate that the CNIC-Polypill strategy is consistently cost-effective compared with monocomponents and remains within acceptable affordability margins. Conclusion: The CNIC-Polypill is a cost-effective secondary prevention strategy. In patients with histories of coronary heart disease or stroke, the CNIC-Polypill more effectively controls CV risk factors compared with monocomponents.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)134-146
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Health Economics and Outcomes Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • CNIC-Polypill
  • cardiovascular disease
  • cardiovascular risk factors
  • cerebrovascular disease
  • cost-effectiveness
  • cost-utility
  • secondary prevention


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