© 2019, Springer Nature Switzerland AG. Pooled data from randomized clinical trials on lipid-lowering therapy have provided valuable information and clinical insights. Although cardiovascular disease is a common cause of death, mortality data have rarely been prominent in key lipid trials. The 4S, LIPID and HPS trials were the first to demonstrate a reduction in overall mortality. Lower- versus higher-intensity statin trials and non-statin lipid-lowering trials with ezetimibe and proprotein convertase subtilisin-kexin type 9 (PCSK9) inhibitors proved that additional lipid lowering significantly reduces the occurrence of cardiovascular events. However, only the ODYSSEY OUTCOMES trial showed a reduction in all-cause mortality. The aim of the present narrative review was to contrast these results with those of other key lipid trials: those assessing statins compared with placebo, those evaluating intensive- versus moderate-intensity lipid-lowering therapy and, finally, those investigating non-statin lipid-lowering therapies.