PART D "DOUGHNUT HOLE" EFFECT DRIVES UP GENERIC Rx DEMAND

Pharmacy Times, Volume 0, 0

Seniors who spend enough on prescriptiondrugs to wind up in theMedicare Part D program's "doughnuthole" coverage void have been fueling theupsurge in generic drug usage in an effortto reduce their out-of-pocket medicationcosts, according to a new research study.The so-called doughnut hole—a lapsein Medicare Part D coverage for seniorsafter their annual prescription drug costs reach $2400—affected 4.2million people in 2006, according to the study by researchers atWolters Kluwer.

Although many seniors relied on generic drugs to reduce theirprescription expenses even before the new Medicare programbegan, those now facing the Part D coverage gap are becoming evenmore focused on generics, the analysis found.

An estimated 59.6% of all Part D prescriptions were filled bygeneric drugs during 2006, but by the first quarter of 2007, the latestgovernment figures show the rate of generic usage by Medicarepatients had climbed to 61.5%—a jump that the researchers attributedto the doughnut hole effect.