Generic drugs comprise 63 percent of Part D market


BRIDGEWATER, N.J. Generic prescription drugs now constitute 63 percent of the Medicare Part D market, a 50 percent increase from less than three years ago, according to a study released Monday by Wolters Kluwer Health.

The study shows a trend away from brand-name drugs and toward generics on the part of consumers.

The goal of the study was to measure the effects of the coverage gap on treatment decisions. The coverage gap is the period, with an average length of more than 100 days, when patients lose Medicare coverage and have to use their own money to pay for prescriptions.

Patients in the coverage gap are willing to continue using brand-name medications for the first 60 to 90 days, but the increase in the average length of the coverage gap has prompted many patients to switch to generics. Six percent of patients return to brand-name drugs upon leaving the gap, the study found.

“Wolters Kluwer Health has been tracking Medicare Part D prescription data since the program’s inception and we are now seeing a more pronounced shift away from branded medications towards generics,” said Bob Jansen, vice president of Managed Markets and Brand Analytics at Wolters Kluwer Health.

The study looked at a statistical sample of the 2006 and 2007 cohorts and assigned MPD patients into either low income subsidies or standard eligible groupings. MPD is part of the 2003 Medicare Modernization Act, meant to subsidize prescription drugs for more than 44 million Medicare beneficiaries.

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