Generic and Biosimilar Prescriptions Mean Smooth Sailing and Big Savings for Americans of All Ages

Now that Rich Lichty is semi-retired, he loves to go boating on the Chesapeake Bay. His 15-year-old boat is equipped with a diving board to entice the grandchildren.

Watch Rich’s Video

Rich Lichty, 72, from Laurel, MD, takes a generic medicine for his blood pressure.

Rich takes a generic drug to control his blood pressure. He and his wife are enrolled in Medicare but not a supplemental plan, so lower-priced generics are his best option. The brand-name version of his blood pressure drug, for example, costs twice as much as the generic.

“That thing sitting in the water is a big investment,” he says. Generic savings means he can cover those boat maintenance bills more easily, and the quality and reliability mean that he can lead a healthier, more productive and fuller life — that is, more time with the grandchildren. The nation’s secure and reliable pharmaceutical supply chain means he can count on being able to refill his prescriptions when he needs to.

AAM’s 2020 Generic Drug & Biosimilars Access & Savings in the U.S. report tells the story of millions of America’s patients who, like Rich, trust generic and biosimilar medications. U.S. generic savings totaled $313 billion in 2019 and nearly $2.2 trillion from 2009 to 2019.

In a suburb of Santa Clarita, California, on the other side of the country from Lichty, Jeni Doerr recently went back to school to become a medical coder, and when she is not online learning she is enjoying everything the state has to offer — hiking, rock climbing and mountain biking with her dog Sally. “If you take me outside, I’m a happy girl,” she says. Last year, however, a severe, painful attack of pancolitis left her hospitalized for a week. After trying different medications, her doctor prescribed a biosimilar — a lower-cost, FDA-approved alternative to biologic medicines. “Since then,” says Doerr, “it was like flipping a light switch. I’ve had no flares and no symptoms.”

Watch Jeni’s Video

Jeni, 35, from Santa Clarita, CA, takes a biosimilar medicine for her pancolitis.

“Think of biosimilars as the next generation of generic medicines,” John O’Brien, a pharmacist and former senior advisor to the secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, recently wrote. “The promise of biosimilars means expanding treatment options for people in need. We must keep the momentum high and continue pushing our members of Congress to fight for increased access to biosimilars to save health care dollars.” The AAM report finds that in biosimilars’ ten years of existence in the United States, savings have totaled $4.5 billion.

View the Report

Download the Top Takeaways

Other notable findings in the report:

  • 92% of generic prescriptions are filled for $20 or less.
  • Generics are 90% of prescriptions filled, yet account for only 20% of prescription drug spending.
  • Generic savings for heart disease treatment totaled $49.9 billion in 2019, and savings from generic cancer drugs came to $13.6 billion.
  • More than 60 billion generic drug doses are made in the U.S. every year.

In his introduction, the CEO of Association for Accessible Medicines (AAM) Dan Leonard writes, “The COVID-19 public health emergency in 2020 has shown America that the generics and biosimilars industry is fundamentally strong and essential to saving lives.” The savings makes a difference during the pandemic. As Reuters noted, “Medication costs for COVID-19 patients hospitalized in the United States have dropped sharply since May, reflecting advances in treatment, shorter stays and use of cheaper generic drugs.”

The report includes savings by state, with California leading the way at $28.3 billion. It also details savings for Medicare and Medicaid participants and for all age groups. Nationally, Medicare saved $96.1 billion in 2019, or $1,053 per participant, by using generics. Medicaid programs saved $48.5 billion, or $770 per participant. Unfortunately, Medicare policies often reward use of higher-cost brand drugs and biologics. Advocates recommend updating Medicare to encourage use of generics and biosimilars through payment policy and lower patient cost-sharing.

Each dollar saved represents a U.S. patient with a health condition impeding the ability to lead a full and productive life — or even threatening life.

Leonard adds, “Our medicines, from the injectables that are critical to placing a patient on a ventilator, to the steroid drugs that have reduced the risk of death in COVID patients by one-third, have proven themselves to truly be the bridge to a vaccine.”

The bottom line: safe, effective FDA-approved medicines save more Americans more money every year. During a time when we realize the importance of health, Rich and Jeni’s stories should be reassuring for all of us.

Source link

Related Articles

Finding confidence in quarantine: Survey shows how COVID-19 influences makeup usage

As being in quarantine and weathering the COVID-19 pandemic continues to put a damper on things, American women are turning to their makeup routines to feel a sense of control and comfort, according to new research. In September, marketing firm OnePoll asked 2,000 American women about how they’re staying positive and confident as their time […]
Read more

6 tips for hitting the road again

Not surprisingly, Americans sharply reduced the overall number of trips they took in 2020, according to the U.S. Bureau of Transportation Statistics. While a certain level of travel has been necessary throughout the pandemic, many travel vendors are seeing increased reservations going into the spring and summer and are expecting business to continue to rise […]
Read more

Sculpt Your Best Body Now: Get Trim and Toned with This Advanced Duo Treatment

This has been a hard year for everyone, and many of us found it difficult to stay in shape and keep up with our fitness goals. The good news is that there is finally something you can do about it that doesn’t involve having invasive cosmetic surgery. If you diet and exercise but still have […]
Read more

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Search for: