POORER SENIORS UNDERUSING GENERICS

Pharmacy Times, Volume 0, 0

A recent study focusingon cardiovascular medicationsshowed that US seniorswith the lowest incomesor no prescription drug coveragewere not readilychoosing generic drugs. Thestudy, which was reported inthe October 2006 issue ofthe American Journal ofManaged Care, was conducted by researchers atthe Mount Sinai School of Medicine, who urgeddoctors to be more aggressive about suggestinggeneric drugs to their senior patients.

Alex D. Federman,MD, MPH, assistant professorof medicine at the school and lead author of thestudy, stressed that "one obvious cost-savingapproach [when buying medicines] is the use ofgeneric medications." Dr. Federman and colleaguesstudied generic cardiovascular (CV) druguse in a nationwide sample of elderly Medicarebeneficiaries with hypertension (which was usedas a model of chronic disease in the United Statesbecause of its high prevalence); the greater varietyof generic CV drugs; and the high prescriptiondrug costs linked with the disease. The findingsshowed that older patients with CV diseases oftenuse costly brand name drugs when equivalent butlower-cost generic versions are available.

"The patients that we were concerned aboutare low-income and underinsured seniors. Ourfindings show this group in particular are missingopportunities to save money on prescriptiondrugs without sacrificing quality of care," noted Dr.Federman. "Physicians must take an active role toaddress this problem by prescribing equivalent,lower-cost generic versions when available."