US generics industry claims $1.7 trillion savings

The Association for Accessible Medicines (AAM) says that generic drugs saved the US healthcare system $253 billion last year, and a total of $1.67 trillion in the last decade.

The surprisingly high claims are made in research carried out at the behest of the US generics and biosimilars trade federation by the QuintilesIMS Institute, using data from a survey of the association’s members, and other sources.

The AAM says the research: “demonstrates the vital role that generics and biosimilars play in the United States’ healthcare system.”

The authors claim that generics were responsible for Medicare savings of $77 billion and Medicaid savings of $37.9 billion.

Looking at each therapy area, the report finds that most savings from generic drugs were derived in mental health ($44 billion), hypertension ($29 billion) and cholesterol ($28 billion).

The researchers also analyzed the differences between brand and generic “abandonment” behaviors -  whether or not patients pick up medicines that are prescribed to them.

The report concludes that: “new patient abandonment rates for brand-name drugs are 266% higher than for generic drugs.”

This is attributed to the role of co-pays, which “play a significant role in abandonment; 90% of generic copays are under $20, compared to 39% percent of branded copays.”


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