Study Finds U.S. Generic and Biosimilar Savings Totaled A Record $338 Billion in 2020

WASHINGTON, DC (September 21, 2021) — Today, the Association for Accessible Medicines (AAM), the trade association of generic and biosimilar manufacturers, released the topline findings from its forthcoming 2021 U.S. Generic and Biosimilar Medicines Savings Report highlighting the value of generic and biosimilar drugs.

According to the analysis, the U.S. health care system saved $338 billion in 2020 through the use of FDA-approved generic and biosimilar drugs.

Ninety percent of the prescriptions filled in the United States in 2020 were filled by generic drugs, but those prescriptions accounted for only 18% of the country’s spending on prescription drugs.

In addition to the systemic savings that the generic drug industry provides, generic drugs create significant out-of-pocket savings for individual patients at the pharmacy counter. Ninety-three percent of generic drugs have copays under $20 (as compared to 51% of brand-name drugs) and the average generic copay is $6.61 compared to an average out-of-pocket cost of $55.82 for brand-name drugs.

The market for biosimilar drugs continued to grow with three new approvals and six product launches in 2020. Even though biosimilar volume share of the molecules where they compete was less than 30%, biosimilar drugs saved $7.9 billion dollars in 2020 alone, more than tripling the $2.5 billion saved in 2019.

As the cost of prescription drugs has been a growing concern for voters in recent years, these findings reinforce the critical importance of the generic and biosimilar drug industry to America’s patients.

The generic drug industry is absolutely central to the affordability of health care in America, accounting for nine out of ten prescriptions. In the face of a pandemic that has upended life around the globe, generic and biosimilar medicines have been a constant, providing safe, effective and affordable treatments to the millions of patients who depend on them, said Dan Leonard, president and CEO of AAM.

Biosimilars are an essential part of the effort to provide affordable and effective medicines to every patient who needs them, said Christine Simmon, Executive Director of the Biosimilars Council and Senior Vice President at AAM. Although biosimilars are projected to save the nation $133 billion by 2025, this will only occur if policymakers take steps to encourage greater biosimilar adoption.

Additional highlights from the 2021 savings report include:

  • Medicare recorded $109.6 billion in generic and biosimilar savings in 2020.
  • Medicaid saved $53.8 billion in 2020 through the use of generics and biosimilars
  • 93% of generic drugs have copays under $20 (compared to 51% of brand name drugs)
  • The average generic copay is $6.61 compared to an average out-of-pocket cost of $55.82 for brand name drugs.

As in the past, this year’s report was developed by analyzing independent research from IQVIA to quantify how much money America's patients and the U.S. health care system are saving because of generic and biosimilar alternatives to brand-name prescription and biologic medications.


Rachel Schwartz


About 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 90 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


Association for Accessible Medicines


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