Despite Savings from Generic Drugs, Many Patients Continue to Pay More than Necessary
WASHINGTON, DC (September 21, 2022) — Today, the Association for Accessible Medicines (AAM), the leading trade association for generic and biosimilar manufacturers, released its 2022 U.S. Generic & Biosimilar Medicines Savings Report highlighting the value of generic and biosimilar medicines.
According to the analysis, the U.S. health care system, including patients, employers, and taxpayers, saved $373 billion in 2021 by using FDA-approved generic and biosimilar drugs.
Ninety-one percent of the prescriptions filled in the United States in 2021 were filled with generic drugs, but those prescriptions accounted for only 18.2% of the country’s drug spend. In addition to the systemic savings that the generic drug industry generates, generic drugs create significant out-of-pocket savings for individual patients. Ninety-three percent of generic drugs have copays under $20 (as compared to 59% of brand-name drugs), and their average copay is $6.16 compared to an average out-of-pocket cost of $56.12 for their brand counterparts.
The market for biosimilar drugs continues to expand, and as they approach nearly 30% of the overall biologics market, they saved patients over $7 billion dollars in 2021. The report finds the average sales price for biosimilars is on average 50% less than the reference brand biologic price. Further, competition from biosimilars has reduced the average sales price of their corresponding reference biologic by an average of 25%.
Voters continue to be alarmed over the cost of prescription drugs, and these findings only reinforce the critical importance of the generic and biosimilar drug industry to America’s patients.
“Often taken for granted, these savings are increasingly at risk,” said Dan Leonard, President and CEO of AAM. “Today, as a result of business decisions by middlemen, patients pay more than they should or are even prevented from the benefits of lower-cost generics and biosimilars overall. Policymakers must address these challenges and ensure patient access to more affordable generic and biosimilar medications.”
“Thanks to new biosimilar competition, more patients are receiving the care and medicines that they need,” said Craig Burton, Executive Director of the Biosimilars Council. “But new challenges on the horizon demand attention, including the launch of new pharmacy benefit biosimilars, ongoing gaps in biosimilar adoption, and brand rebate traps that continue to exploit perverse incentives in the health care system. The coming years will be critical to fulfill biosimilars’ promise for patients.”
Additional highlights from AAM’s 2022 Savings Report include:
- Total Generic and Biosimilar Savings for 2021: $373 billion
- Total Generic and Biosimilar Savings for Past 10 years: more than $2.6 trillion
- Total Generic and Biosimilar Savings in Medicare for 2021: $119 Billion
- Total Generic and Biosimilar Savings in Commercial Plans for 2021: $178 Billion
- Generics represent 91% of prescriptions filled, yet account for only 18.2% of prescription drug spending
- Even at nearly 6.4 billion generic and biosimilar prescriptions dispensed, generics represent only 3% of all health care spending
As in the past, this year’s report was developed utilizing independent research from IQVIA, which quantified how much money America's patients and the U.S. health care system are saving due to the use of generic and biosimilar alternatives.
Director of Communications, AAM
AAM is driven by the belief that access to safe, quality, effective medicine has a tremendous impact on a person’s life and the world around them. Generic and biosimilar medicines improve people’s lives, improving society and the economy in turn. AAM represents the manufacturers and distributors of finished generic pharmaceuticals and biosimilars, manufacturers and distributors of bulk pharmaceutical chemicals, and suppliers of other goods and services to the generic industry. Generic pharmaceuticals are 91 percent of prescriptions dispensed in the U.S. but only 18 percent of total drug spending.
About the Biosimilars Council
The Biosimilars Council, a division of the Association for Accessible Medicines (AAM), works to ensure a positive environment for patient access to biosimilar medicines. The Biosimilars Council is a leading source for information about the safety and efficacy of more affordable alternatives to costly brand biologic medicines. Areas of focus include public and health expert education, strategic partnerships, government affairs, legal affairs and regulatory policy. More information is available at www.biosimilarscouncil.org.