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The use of generic medications increased from 48.4% to 52.6% for third-party payers in 2006, according to data from Wolters Kluwer Health. Armed with these data, NACDS released the following statement: "This significant increase in generic drug use helped keep spending growth down, although overall prescriptions dispensed picked up due to the implementation of Medicare Part D. The cost of prescription medications as a contributor to overall healthcare costs has declined in recent years." The association also pointed to data from CMS, which showed that health expenditures rose 6.9% from 2004 to 2005, while prescription expenditures rose only 5.8%. "Community pharmacists play a vital role in helping to control healthcare expenditures by suggesting generic alternatives to brand-name drugs when appropriate and providing patients with important information regarding effective utilization of medication," said Robert Hannan, NACDS president/CEO. NACDS anticipates that generic use will continue to increase.