OBJECTIVE: To determine in the Netherlands what proportions of high risk patients with established cardiovascular disease (CVD) or diabetes mellitus type 2 (DM2) who were not treated with statins on 1 January 2007 and which characteristics were assciated with non-treatment. METHODS: From the IPCI GP database patients were selected who were registered with a GP on 1 January 2007 who had a history of either CVD (CVD patients), DM2 (diabetics) or both (diabetics with CVD). The proportion of patientsusing statins around 1 January 2007 was determined. Associations of patient characteristics with non-treatment were quantified (CVD patients and diabetics only). RESULTS: In all, 19 628 CVD patients, 5006 diabetics and 3767 diabetics with CVD were identified. Of these patients 71%, 54% and 45%, respectively did not use statins. These proportions were similar in the subgroups of patients with recent LDL-C measurements. Among these subgroups the vast majority of non-treated patients was eligible for statin treatment (LDL-C >2.5 mmol/l). The proportion of statin-treated patients was larger among diabetics than among CVD patients. Among CVD patients, female gender, age below 40 years, living in a deprived area, a history of CVD of less than 1 year and arrhythmia were significantly associated with non-treatment. Among diabetics, significant associations were: living in a deprived area and specialist visits in the previous year. In 2003, treatment rates among diabetics were lower, but among CVD patients they were similar. This suggests that the higher treatment rates among diabetics compared to CVD patients in 2007 may be the result of disease-management programmes introduced for diabetics in 2004. CONCLUSION: The majority of patients with established CVDor DM2 were not treated with statins on 1 January 2007. Eligibility for statin treatment may have been overestimated due to unavailability of cholesterol levels among many non-treated patients. Implementation of care programmes for CVD patients may increase treatment rates among eligible CVD patients.