Generics saved $1 trillion over last 10 years, study finds


WASHINGTON — Use of generic drugs has saved consumers and the healthcare system $1 trillion over the past decade, according to a new study released Thursday by a generic drug industry trade organization.

The Generic Pharmaceutical Association said that between 2002 and 2011, generics saved the country $1 billion every other day, totaling $193 billion in 2011.

"The remarkable findings demonstrated in this report are a testament not only to the generic industry's tremendous accomplishments over the past decade, but to the even greater achievements that are still to come," GPhA president and CEO Ralph Neas said. "The Generic Drug Savings study shows conclusively that, as Congress and the White House gear up for the fiscal challenges facing them in the coming year, generic and biosimilar utilization are the best places to go for the 'offsets' that everyone will be desperately seeking. The sustainability of the healthcare system and the national economy depend in significant measure on the availability of affordable medicines."

The study, commissioned by the GPhA and conducted by IMS Health's research division, also found that 2011 had the highest year-over-year increase in savings from generics since 1998, as savings increased 22%, compared with 2010, and savings from generics that have entered the market since 2002 have increased as well, totaling $481 billion over the decade. Meanwhile, 57% of the annual savings came from generic drugs for central nervous system disorders, such as antidepressants and anticonvulsants, as well as cardiovascular drugs, and nearly 80% of the 4 billion prescriptions written in 2011 were for generics, while accounting for only 27% of drug spending.

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