NEW GENERICS MAY SAVE MEDICARE $23 BILLION

Pharmacy Times, Volume 0, 0

The flurry of high-profile generic drug introductionsscheduled to hit the market over the next 5years could produce savings of >$23 billion for thenew Medicare Part D drug benefit, according to anew analysis by the Pharmaceutical CareManagement Association (PCMA).

The group examined the top 100 drugs usedby seniors to develop a "conservative estimate" of potential Medicare cost savings.According to the analysis, 14 of those top 100drugs are slated to experience generic competitionby 2010, including branded medicines commonly used byseniors to treat conditions such as high cholesterol, depression, heartdisease, and hypertension.

"As soon as drugs become available in generic form, health plans andpharmacy benefit managers work collaboratively with patients, physicians,pharmacists, and payers to increase awareness about generic alternativesand potential cost savings," said the PCMA.

During this year alone, 4 drugs commonly used by seniors—sertraline(Zoloft), simvastatin (Zocor), pravastatin sodium (Pravachol), andfinasteride (Proscar)—are expected to go off patent or lose exclusivityand face generic competition, a change expected to result in savingsof $1.5 billion in 2006 and $13 billion over the entire 2006-2010period, according to the analysis.

Next year, an additional 7 drugs commonly used by seniors areexpected to go generic, producing savings of nearly $700 million in2007 and $7 billion during the 2007-2010 period, said the report.Among the drugs scheduled to lose patent protection in 2007 areamlodipine besylate (Norvasc), zolpidem tartrate (Ambien), cetirizine(Zyrtec), amlodipine and benazepril (Lotrel), carvedilol (Coreg),terbinafine hydrochloride (Lamisil), and gatifloxacin (Tequin).