The American health care system saved more than $1 trillion through the use of generic medicines over the last decade, according to a new study released by the Generic Pharmaceutical Association (GPhA). The analysis conducted by IMS Health highlights the value of generic medications and serves as a reminder of the powerful ways that pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) increase generic utilization, the Pharmaceutical Care Management Association (PCMA) said today.
“Generic drugs improve outcomes and lower costs,” said PCMA President and CEO Mark Merritt. “Policymakers can increase access and savings in Medicare, Medicaid, and other public programs by fully leveraging PBM tools like flexible formularies and mail-service pharmacy.”
Key findings from the IMS report include:
- 2011 savings from generics increased 22 percent over the prior year, marking the largest year-over-year increase since 1998, and 10 percentage points higher than the 10-year average.
- Savings from newer generic medicines—those that have entered the market since 2002—continue to increase exponentially, totaling $481 billion over the past 10 years.
- Generic versions of central nervous system (CNS) drugs, such as antidepressants and anticonvulsants, and cardiovascular drugs account for 57 percent of the annual savings.
- In 2011, nearly 80 percent of the 4 billion prescriptions written in the U.S. were dispensed using safe and effective generic versions of their brand name counterpart drugs.