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Generic drugs are a proven avenue to lower costs and quality health care, and show increasing acceptance by consumers, physicians and payers, according to a study by the Washington-based Pharmaceutical Care Management Association (PCMA).
However, PCMA noted that the data underscores that policymakers continue to leave money on the table by not fully leveraging generics in a number of key policy areas, including biogenerics, electronic prescribing (e-prescribing) and mail-service pharmacies.
New data released yesterday by the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association (BCBSA) found that 2008 generic-drug use among its Blue plan members increased by more than 8 percent and generated at least $2.5 billion in savings. “With these data showing the clear alignment among consumers, physicians and payers to expand the use and availability of generic drugs, we urge Congress to act this year on a far-reaching generic-drug agenda that will reduce costs and improve quality,” said PCMA president and CEO Mark Merritt.
The Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association 2008 Generic Drug Survey is an analysis of prescription drug use of 51 million Blue plan members enrolled in 32 Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies. Key findings include:
--Generic drug use increased by more than 8 percent from 60 percent in 2007 to 65 percent in 2008
--Expanded use of generic drugs generated at least $2.5 billion in savings
“When supported by important tools like e-prescribing and mail-service pharmacies, generic drugs are an important means to a better end -- improved outcomes and lower costs,” said Merritt. “Unfortunately, by failing to fully leverage these tools, policymakers are leaving a lot of money on the table that could help fund coverage expansions and strengthen the safety net.”
Earlier this year, researchers from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services found that the rate of growth of 2007 prescription-drug spending slowed to a 45-year low, in large part because of expanded use and availability of generic drugs.
PCMA represents the nation’s pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs), which aim to improve affordability and quality of care through the use of electronic prescribing (e-prescribing), generic alternatives, mail-service pharmacies and other innovative tools for 200-plus million Americans.