Pharmacy Times, Volume 0, 0

New government data suggestthat American consumersare warming up to genericpharmaceuticals as a keystrategy for holding down theirmedication costs. The data,released by the Centers forMedicare & Medicaid Services(CMS), concluded that genericuse is especially high amongseniors in the new Medicaredrug benefit. According toCMS, cheaper generics accountedfor nearly 60% of thedrugs dispensed to people inMedicare Part D plans duringthe first 9 months of 2006.

Representatives of thenation's pharmacy benefitmanagers quickly took creditfor the growing generic usage,noting that the CMS information"underscores the role ofpharmacy benefit managers(PBMs) in expanding access tolower-cost, clinically provenprescription drugs." In a statementresponding to the newgeneric use figures, officials atthe Pharmaceutical CareManagement Association(PCMA) said that the "highgeneric dispensing rate inMedicare Part D—after only 1year—is a testament to thecollaborative efforts of patients,clinicians, PBMs, andpolicy makers to expandaccess to clinically proven,cost-effective prescriptiondrugs."

Indeed, PCMA said, the"increased generic-drug utilizationis helping to keep PartD premiums and programcosts lower than originallyforecast and is helping to preventseniors from falling intothe ‘doughnut hole'coveragegap."