April 26, 2011

(Washington, DC) — The Pharmaceutical Care Management Association (PCMA) issued the following statement today on pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) and mail-service pharmacies increasing the use of generic medications:

“Proven PBM tools and techniques – including increasing the use of generic medications and lower cost mail-service pharmacies – have helped result in drug spending during the past three years growing at its slowest annual rates in more than 40 years.

“Mail-service pharmacies typically dispense medications like cholesterol reducers for chronic conditions that tend to be newer and less available generically compared to medications like antibiotics typically dispensed through retail pharmacies.

“Independent research confirms that success of mail-service pharmacies in leveraging generic opportunities for savings. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and Harvard University both found that mail-service pharmacies practice generic substitution—substituting equivalent generics for brands whenever possible—more frequently than retail pharmacies. Generic prescriptions are also less costly when obtained through mail-service pharmacies, according to research from the FTC and the Government Accountability Office.

“Any credible analysis of generic dispensing at mail-service pharmacies compared to retail pharmacies must be based on the same set of drugs available generically at the same rate. Harvard University researchers have done such a comparison and found virtually no difference in the generic dispensing rate between mail-service and retail pharmacies.