The clinical benefits of anti-hypertensive treatment include reductions in stroke and myocardial infarction, heart failure, renal and ocular damage and possibly cognitive impairment. The cost-effectiveness of treatment generally falls within a range considered acceptable to funders of health care in developed countries, and has been shown to vary with age, gender and pre-treatment blood pressure. In a largely asymptomatic condition, small quality of life impairments resulting from treatment could offset these clinical and economic benefits, but evidence suggests that treatment is associated with slight improvements in quality of life. A limitation of these analyses is that the needs of developing countries are not met. The cost- effectiveness of anti-hypertensive treatment may be unattractive to developing countries when compared with interventions that achieve greater health gains per dollar spent.