The flurry of high-profile generic drug introductions
scheduled to hit the market over the next 5
years could produce savings of >$23 billion for the
new Medicare Part D drug benefit, according to a
new analysis by the Pharmaceutical Care
Management Association (PCMA).
The group examined the top 100 drugs used
by seniors to develop a "conservative estimate"
of potential Medicare cost savings.
According to the analysis, 14 of those top 100
drugs are slated to experience generic competition
by 2010, including branded medicines commonly used by
seniors to treat conditions such as high cholesterol, depression, heart
disease, and hypertension.
"As soon as drugs become available in generic form, health plans and
pharmacy benefit managers work collaboratively with patients, physicians,
pharmacists, and payers to increase awareness about generic alternatives
and potential cost savings," said the PCMA.
During this year alone, 4 drugs commonly used by seniorssertraline
(Zoloft), simvastatin (Zocor), pravastatin sodium (Pravachol), and
finasteride (Proscar)are expected to go off patent or lose exclusivity
and face generic competition, a change expected to result in savings
of $1.5 billion in 2006 and $13 billion over the entire 2006-2010
period, according to the analysis.
Next year, an additional 7 drugs commonly used by seniors are
expected to go generic, producing savings of nearly $700 million in
2007 and $7 billion during the 2007-2010 period, said the report.
Among the drugs scheduled to lose patent protection in 2007 are
amlodipine besylate (Norvasc), zolpidem tartrate (Ambien), cetirizine
(Zyrtec), amlodipine and benazepril (Lotrel), carvedilol (Coreg),
terbinafine hydrochloride (Lamisil), and gatifloxacin (Tequin).