The American public is clamoring for systemic changes to address skyrocketing drug prices. Specialty drugs — a fast-growing category that includes biologics and other complex medicines — are of particular concern. These medicines account for only 2% of prescriptions but already represent almost half of all drug spending.
The Association for Accessible Medicines along with our member manufacturers of generic and biosimilar medicines have an important role to play in this dialogue. We are pleased to present the 11th annual edition of our Access and Savings Report. Subtitled “The Case for Competition,” this publication details how America’s patients and our health care system continue to save through generic drug competition and how future savings are possible through biosimilar alternatives to brand-name biologic medicines.
Some topline data from the report, which we publish based on findings by the data firm IQVIA:
- Traditional generic savings totaled $293 billion in 2018; 10-year savings amount to nearly $2 trillion.
- Across the United States, more than 4 billion generic prescriptions were filled in 2018. That’s 90% of dispensed prescriptions – an increase from 75% in 2009. But generics account for only 22% of total drug spending. As a result, the future affordability of medicines for patients is inextricably linked to the success of the generic and biosimilar industry.
- At $5.63, the average copay for a generic prescription is almost one-seventh of the average copay for a brand-name prescription. That means more money in the pockets of U.S. patients.
- Together, generic usage by Medicare and Medicaid saved taxpayers more than $137 billion last year, with $2,254 in average savings per Medicare beneficiary and $817 in savings per Medicaid enrollee.
- Generic medicines taken by adults age 40-64 accounted for $127 billion in savings, while generics taken by seniors (over age 65) accounted for $102 billion in savings.
- Average savings per state exceeded $5.7 billion in 2018.