According to ModernHealthcare.com, prescribing generic drugs could have saved $73 billion from 2010 to 2012.
The nation could have saved an estimated $73 billion from 2010 to 2012 if clinicians had more frequently prescribed alternatives to brand-name drugs, a JAMA Internal Medicine study finds. The total out-of pocket savings for patients would have been about $25 billion.
Researchers aimed to put a price tag on how much money could be saved overall and out-of-pocket through the use of generic drugs and “therapeutic substitutes.” The latter term describes prescription drugs for which no generic equivalent exists, but for which there is an equally effective alternative within the same drug class.
Drug costs have been a critical issue in recent years. Spending on prescription drugs increased 13% in 2014, reaching $373 billion, an issue that has drawn the attention of Congress and presidential hopefuls.
“There should be systematic protocols that help both clinicians and patients understand when a substitute therapy is safe, effective and more cost-effective,” said Dr. Joseph Ross, a professor of medicine and health policy at the Yale School of Medicine. “This work is not easy,” he said. “But the financial savings will be large.” Ross wrote an editorial accompanying the new study in JAMA Internal Medicine. While the American College of Physicians’ Clinical Guidelines Committee has acknowledged that there are situations where the use of a generic is not appropriate, they recommend that physicians prescribe generics “whenever possible”.
PharMedQuest’s ARC™ program has a system in place to review all medications going through the program to ensure the right drug at the right dose and the right time. “If we determine that a generic medicine would be just as effective for treatment as a brand name drug, but at a lower cost to the patient, we will step in and intervene,” said Dr. Anthony Lam, Medical Director for PharMedQuest. 15% of PMQ interventions last year were for step therapy, resulting in over $300,000 in hard savings for clients enrolled in the ARC™ program.
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