"DOUGHNUT HOLE" SENIORS URGED TO SWITCH TO GENERICS

Pharmacy Times, Volume 0, 0

With millions of American seniorsentering the Medicare Part D"doughnut hole," participants inthe Medicare prescription drugprogram are being urged to turnto generic drugs to hold downtheir medication costs.

Under the new Part D Medicaredrug benefit, seniors whose prescriptiondrug expenditures exceed$2250 are responsible forpaying 100% of the cost of theirmedication until coverage resumes, when total annualexpenditures reach $5100.

The gap between those 2 thresholds, known as thedoughnut hole, has forced many Medicare recipients toresume paying full price for their prescription medicines.To cope with these sudden expenses, government officialsare urging seniors to turn to lower-cost generic drugs.

Testifying before the Senate Committee on Aging, formerMedicare Administrator Mark McClellan, MD, PhD,urged seniors to consider using generics to hold downcosts because these products "are just as safe and effectiveas brand name versions." Predicting that moreMedicare drug plans offering coverage for generic drugswill be introduced next year, Dr. McClellan said that Part D"plans that don't do well with generics are not going to dowell in this program."

Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy Director ofPharmacy Affairs Marissa Schlaifer echoed Dr. McClellan'sadvice, noting that "to avoid falling into the doughnuthole," seniors should "make use of generic drugs wheneverappropriate." Visit the ePharmacyTimes Web site atwww.pharmacytimes.com/articleNewsletter.cfm?ID=3930for more on the doughnut hole dilemma.