September 15, 2010

(Washington, DC) — New research released today by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) found that the use of generic medications rather than brand-name medications in Medicare Part D saved beneficiaries and the program about $33 billion in 2007, while an additional $14 billion in savings is expected as first-time generics enter the market through 2012. This new research highlights the importance of this proven pharmacy benefit management cost-savings tool, the Pharmaceutical Care Management Association (PCMA) said.

“Tools pioneered by pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) – including encouraging the use of generic medications – have lowered costs and expanded access to prescription drugs for seniors in Medicare Part D,” said PCMA President and CEO Mark Merritt. “Policymakers can increase savings for seniors and Medicare by leveraging additional generic opportunities and rejecting special protections in Part D that insulate drugmakers from competition by requiring drug plans cover ‘all or substantially all’ drugs in at least six different drug classes, despite no evidence that patients have had difficulty accessing these drugs.”

Major findings from the CBO report include:

  • Dispensing generic drugs rather than brands reduced prescription drug costs in Part D by $33 billion in just one year.
  • New generics entering the market through 2012 will generate about $14 billion in additional annual savings.