Published Online: Monday, October 1, 2007

Nearly 6 of 10 prescriptions dispensed to Medicare patients under the Part D drug benefit are filled with generic pharmaceuticals, industry researchers at IMS Health reported. According to the study, less costly generic drugs comprise 58% of Part D prescriptions, a factor in the 60% reduction in out-of-pocket prescription expenditures experienced by previously uninsured seniors who joined the new Medicare drug program.

The researchers also found that the rate of adherence to prescribed therapies was higher for Part D patients, and that prescription drug use increased under the program even among seniors who previously had other drug coverage. Despite vocal complaints about gaps in coverage under Part D, IMS Health researchers said that only 6% of the participants in the program entered the so-called "doughnut hole" during which coverage is halted.

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