Generic Drugs Cut Costs for Independent Pharmacies

Published Online: Tuesday, November 13, 2012
Follow Pharmacy_Times:
Dispensing lower-cost generic drugs helped independent pharmacists reduce health care costs in 2011, and also increased interaction with physicians, according to the 2012 NCPA [National Community Pharmacists Association] Digest, sponsored by Cardinal Health.

The annual survey of independent community pharmacies determined a generic dispensing rate of 76%, an increase of 4 percentage points over the 2010 rate. Independent community pharmacists consulted with physicians an average of 7.9 times per day.

The report noted that recent Gallup polls recognized pharmacists as one of the most trusted health care professionals, and that their recommendations to physicians are accepted 83% of the time. The recommendations often include generic substitution.

“The 2012 NCPA Digest, sponsored by Cardinal Health, provides fresh evidence of how trusted community pharmacists are working with patients and their physicians to improve health outcomes while reducing costs,” NCPA CEO B. Douglas Hoey, RPh, MBA, said in a press release. “Independent community pharmacists shattered their previous record in frequency of dispensing lower-cost generic drugs by raising the bar even higher in 2011. In addition, these small business health care providers are counseling patients face-to-face on the proper use of and adherence to their prescription drug regimen —making a dent in the estimated $290 billion in health care costs attributed to nonadherence.”

With 92% of revenue derived from prescription drug sales, the efficiencies from dispensing generic drugs can help independent pharmacies remain competitive. In particular, pharmacies reduced dispensing costs from $12.44 to $12.19 per prescription in 2011.

“Community pharmacists are working more frequently with physicians and continue to play a vital role in improving health outcomes while reducing costs,” Hoey said. “First, the Digest indicated that community pharmacists reached new highs in promoting the appropriate use of lower-cost generic drugs. Second, community pharmacists are increasingly offering physicians more recommendations for prescription drug therapy, including generic substitutes, and these suggestions continue to be accepted by doctors at a very high rate.”

Related Articles
Today Reps. Doug Collins (R-Ga.) and Dave Loebsack (D-Iowa) introduced H.R. 5815, The Generic Drug Pricing Fairness Act, which creates greater transparency in how pharmacy benefit managers reimburse pharmacies for generic prescription drugs under Medicare Part D, and the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program. The National Community Pharmacists Association endorsed the bill, which goes further than legislation the same two Congressmen introduced earlier year that has the same remedies, but only applied to Medicare Part D.
Cardinal Health today introduced a powerful new tool that gives pharmacists the ability to rapidly analyze antibiotic use trends and identify significant opportunities to improve antibiotic stewardship efforts.
“GPhA applauds FDA for taking helpful steps to address, and hopefully limit, scenarios in which some brand drug companies misuse Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategies programs to thwart competition from more affordable generic drugs. The ongoing abuse of REMS and REMS-like programs costs the American health system and its patients $5.4 billion annually, according to a study conducted by Matrix Global Advisors. Interestingly, as the United States market readies for biosimilars, this same study identifies $140 million in lost savings that would occur for every $1 billion in biologics sales.
Generics saved $239 billion in 2013 (a 14% increase in savings from 2012) and more than $1.46 trillion over the recent decade. Further, the Express Scripts 2013 Drug Trend Report issued in 2014 shows that since 2008, the price of brand drugs has almost doubled, but the price of generic drugs has been cut roughly in half.
Latest Issues