Generics saved Americans $1 trillion over 10 years

Generics saved Americans $1 trillion over 10 years

August 24, 2012

The use of generic prescription drugs instead of their brand-name counterparts has saved Americans and the nation's healthcare system $1.07 trillion over 10 years ending in 2011, according to the results of a study commissioned by the Generic Pharmaceutical Association.

The use of generic prescription drugs instead of their brand-name counterparts has saved Americans and the nation’s healthcare system $1.07 trillion over 10 years ending in 2011, according to the results of a

commissioned by the Generic Pharmaceutical Association.

“The analysis clearly demonstrates that any effort to reduce healthcare costs-whether on Capitol Hill or in state legislatures-must recognize the billions of dollars in savings that can be achieved through the use of generic medicines,” the authors wrote.

The retrospective analysis for the 10-year period from 2002 to 2011, conducted by the IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics, also found that the use of generics saved $193 billion in 2011 alone. This represents an average of more than $1 billion in savings every other day and a 20% increase in savings over 2010, which had seen the largest one-year growth rate since 1998 in a savings of $158 billion, the authors wrote.

Additionally, generic CNS medications, such as antidepressants and anticonvulsants, and cardiovascular drugs, contributed significantly to the yearly increase in savings, growing 10% in 2011 for 57% of the annual savings. And savings from generic oncology products were more than 3 times higher than the $3 billion that generic cancer drugs saved in 2010, topping $10 billion in 2011.

According to IMS, the acceleration in savings growth was due to a number of first-time generics being launched in 2011 for brand drugs with $22.1 billion in annual sales and rising consumer reliance on safe and effective generic drugs. When given the option of generic or brand, consumers chose the generic alternative 94% of the time in 2011, the authors noted.

The authors expect savings from newer generics to increase over the next several years as many of the largest selling brand drugs lose patent protection and face generic competition for the first time.