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WHO adds cardiovascular polypill to List of Essential Medicines

The World Health Organization (WHO) has added a cardiovascular polypill, which includes acetylsalicylic acid, ramipril and atorvastatin, to its List of Essential Medicines.

Developed by the Spanish National Centre for Cardiovascular Research (CNIC) in conjunction with the Ferrer Foundation, the cardiovascular polypill has been proven to be effective in preventing cardiovascular events after a heart attack.

Oscar Pérez, chief marketing, market access and business development officer at Ferrer, said: ‘The inclusion of this therapeutic solution in the WHO‘s List of Essential Medicines confirms our aim to make a positive impact in society and is an important step in our mission to bring significant and differential value to people with cardiovascular disease.‘

The polypill is currently marketed in 25 countries and the feasibility of extending its distribution to additional territories, including the United States, is under analysis.

The WHO defines essential medicines as ‘those that satisfy the priority health care needs of a population. They are intended to be available in functioning health systems at all times, in appropriate dosage forms, of assured quality and at prices individuals and health systems can afford.‘

Polypill clinical efficacy

The effectiveness of the polypill has been established in a clinical study published in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) in the summer of 2022. The trial examined the effectiveness of the polypill as a secondary preventative measure in patients who had experienced a myocardial infarction.

The primary outcome for the study was a composite of cardiovascular death, non-fatal type 1 myocardial infarction, non-fatal ischaemic stroke or urgent coronary revascularisation. The results showed that the primary outcome occurred in 9.5% of patients in the polypill group and 12.7% in the usual-care group (hazard ratio = 0.76, 95% CI 0.60 to 0.96, P<0.001 for noninferiority; P=0.02 for superiority).

Dr Valentín Fuster, principal investigator of the NEJM study, said: ‘The SECURE results showed, for the first time, that the cardiovascular polypill developed by the CNIC and Ferrer achieves clinically relevant reductions in recurrent cardiovascular events in patients who have suffered a myocardial infarction.‘

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