At a time of rising health care costs, generic and biosimilar medicines continue to generate savings and increase access to care for patients. AAM’s 2022 U.S. Generic & Biosimilar Medicines Savings Report provides new insights across a variety of settings where savings reached greater heights, benefiting patients, consumers, employers, and taxpayers alike.
Here are five key takeaways from this year’s report:
- In 2021 alone, generic and biosimilar medicines generated a record $373 billion in savings for the American health care system –more than $2.6 trillion over the past decade.
- Of the 6.4 billion prescriptions dispensed in 2021, 91% were for generic or biosimilar medicines, although these medicines accounted for only 18% of the country’s spending on prescription drugs. America’s patients benefitted broadly from the low costs and high quality of generics and biosimilars.
- The top three conditions that generated savings for patients by using generics instead of the brand alternative are:
- $96.7 billion for patients diagnosed with heart disease
- $59.7 billion for patients suffering from mental illness
- $56.7 billion for persons living with diabetes
- The average copay for brand-name drugs is $56.12, the average generic copay is only $6.16.
- Generics represent only 3% of total health care spending.
As prices for goods and services continue to rise, these savings are vital to struggling families. However, to continue the momentum generated by their success, availability and access to generic and biosimilar medicines are key. Unfortunately, middlemen, such as pharmacy benefit managers, continue to steer patients toward more expensive brand products and force patients to pay too much for generics. For instance, a recent report showed that many patients are forced to use pharmacy discount cards to afford their generic medicines, even though the generic is typically sold by manufacturers at a fraction of the price charged by health plans and PBMs. In fact, nearly half of all seniors who used a discount card saved more than $5 per prescription over what they would have spent using their Medicare drug plan. For seniors with fixed incomes and multiple prescriptions, this can add up.
We are encouraged by the countless stories from patients who find relief from generic or biosimilar medicines. As we move forward, it is critical that policymakers look to build upon the success of generics, to achieve greater savings through more rapid generic and biosimilar availability and adoption.
By Monét Stanford, Director, Policy
Published on October 3, 2022