AAM report: Generics, biosimilars saved U.S. healthcare system $8B in 2020

Generics and biosimilars saved the U.S healthcare system $338 billion in 2020 and nearly $2.4 trillion in the last decade, the report said.
Sandra Levy
Senior Editor

At a moment when policymakers are contemplating measures to reduce drug prices for American patients, the Association for Accessible Medicine’s 2021 U.S. Generic and Biosimilar Medicines Savings Report, featuring data from IQVIA, found that generics and biosimilars saved the U.S healthcare system $338 billion in 2020 (up from the 2019 analysis which reported $315 billion in generic and biosimilar savings), and nearly $2.4 trillion in the last decade.

The study also found that U.S. biosimilars savings totaled $8 billion in 2020 and $133 billion over the past 10 years.

[Read more: AAM report: Medicare plans lag in adopting new generics]

“The promise of biosimilars is coming into view,” writes Christine Simmon, executive director of the Biosimilars Council, but it won’t be fully realized until more policymakers and physicians understand the value proposition of these FDA approved treatments for acute and chronic conditions.

Other findings of the report include:

  • Generics account for 90% of all prescriptions but only 18% of total Rx spending.
  • Biosimilars are bending the oncology drug spending curve and are expected to do the same for autoimmune disease in the coming years.
  • Biosimilar medicines are projected to provide $133 billion in savings by 2025.
  • The average generic copay is $6.61.
  • Ninety three percent of the time, the copay for a generic prescription is under $20. (The average out-of-pocket cost for brand-name drugs is more than eight times higher, $55.82.).
  • 2020 savings to Medicare were $109.6 billion
  • 2020 savings to Medicaid were $53.8 billion.

To date, the FDA has approved 31 biosimilars across 11 molecules. Twenty biosimilars are on the market, with prices that average 30% less than their reference brand biologic. At least six more biosimilars are scheduled to come to market in 2023. This competition has lowered costs for both the reference products and their biosimilars. Since their introduction, biosimilars have been used in more than 121 million days of patient therapy and have supported almost 10 million incremental days of therapy.

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