I joined AAM just over one year ago, and one of the first things that I did was a media tour of over 25 markets around the country to talk about the incredible data contained in our 2020 annual savings report.
For someone like me who spent many years working on the brand side of the pharmaceutical industry, that introduction to the generic and biosimilar side of the industry was eye opening. Innovation is important – to brands, patients and our industry – but a drug that a patient can’t afford does just as much good for that patient as a drug that does not exist. Our products are valuable not only because they are safe and effective, but also because the vast majority (92%) of them are available to patients at under $20 out-of-pocket.
I am excited to embark on my second annual media tour this month to talk about our latest savings report and the incredible data it contains. Savings to the American health care system was up nearly $25 billion dollars over 2019, meaning that Americans saved $338 billion in 2020 through the use of generic and biosimilar medicines. Our industry fills 90% of prescriptions but accounts for only 18% of the total spending on prescription drugs in this country, all at an average co-pay of $6.61 compared to $55.82 for brand name drugs.
As policymakers are spending incredible amounts of time and energy working to solve the problem of out-of-control drug prices, the data show that generics and biosimilars are the solution.
But, while those data represent real savings, they are at the end of the day numbers on a page. The stories behind those numbers – the stories of real people whose lives are positively affected by the medicines our members produce – bring to life the full picture of the value our industry creates for America’s patients.
One of my goals when I came to AAM was to bring the story of generics and biosimilars to life, and not just the lifesaving medicines we produce. I wanted to go beyond the data to tell the story of the history of this industry and the hurdles we overcame to get to the point where we fill 90% of prescriptions, to talk about the incredible people who helped build this association and the people who make it work so well today, and to highlight the lives of patients that our medicines make better every day.
To accomplish that goal, we’ve made some changes and launched some new projects over the last year. You may notice this year’s savings report is a little different than years past. We’ve focused this report completely on the data and created a separate annual report we will release each spring, Voices of Access, that is 100% focused on patients and the importance of generic and biosimilar medicines in their lives.
We’ve also launched the
All Access podcast, where I get to return to my roots as a broadcast journalist and have fascinating conversations with people from across the health care landscape. Thus far, we’ve interviewed member CEOs like Vinita Gupta of Lupin and Jeff Watson of Apotex, policy experts like Avik Roy and former Veterans Affairs Secretary Anthony Principi, and industry veterans like Bob Billings, who was instrumental in making our association what it is today.
I am excited about the seeds that we’ve sown over my first year as AAM President and CEO, and I am thankful to all of my colleagues who welcomed me and have helped steer our association through what was a challenging year on many fronts. I am incredibly optimistic about the future of the generic and biosimilar industries and the future of AAM itself, and I look forward to continuing to tell our story for years to come.
By Dan Leonard, AAM President and CEO
Published on October 4, 2021