If all eligible patients took advantage of $4 generic drug programs available at major retail pharmacies, it would yield a total societal savings of $5.78 billion, according to a study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine.
Generic-drug programs could yield savings: study
Looking at data in the 2007 Medical Expenditure Panel Survey, the authors found that patients currently using branded drugs and generics who switched to a $4 generic program would save $3.23 billion, while Medicare would save $1.07 billion. (Retailers such as Wal-Mart and Target offer some generics at a rate of $4 for a 30-day supply).
The authors noted, though, that distribution of the savings is uneven. About 50% of potential users of the program would personally save less than $22 a year, while about 1% of potential switchers could save more than $718 annually.
“It appears, however, that the majority of savings comes from a small proportion of individuals, and if policymakers and clinicians can direct these individuals to low-cost generic drug programs, patients, payers, and taxpayers could save enormously,” the researchers wrote.
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