Pharmacy Times, Volume 0, 0

Senior citizens enrolled in theMedicare Part D prescription drug programexperienced a significant savingsin their medication costs during 2006,and the cost-saving benefits from thisprogram are likely to be even better inthe coming year, the Centers forMedicare & Medicaid Services (CMS)said in a new analysis of Part D's firstyear. Significantly, though, CMS predictedthat the biggest savings are expectedto be earned by Part D participants whowork with their physicians to securegeneric versions of their drugs.

In many instances, beneficiaries' annualcosts will actually be lower in 2007,CMS predicted. During the program'ssecond year, "large savings will be availablethrough a broader range of plans,especially for beneficiaries who switchto therapeutically identical generic versionsof drugs," they said. Overall, CMSfound that seniors enrolled in the planenjoyed savings of 50% or more on theirprescription drug expenses.

"While these percentage savings canamount to several thousand dollars ormore per year, beneficiaries willing toswitch to lower-cost medications suchas generic drugs can save even more," the agency said. Seniors who use genericpharmaceuticals can reap cost savingsof up to 87%, according to theanalysis.