Seniors to save $23 billion over five years with new generics

April 24, 2006

Seniors and the Medicare Part D program could potentially save morethan $23 billion over the next five years, as at least 14brand-name drugs commonly used by seniors are scheduled to becomeavailable in generic form, according to a new analysis released byPCMA. The analysis examined the top 100 drugs used by seniors toarrive at a conservative estimate of potential Medicare costsavings.

Seniors and the Medicare Part D program could potentially save more than $23 billion over the next five years, as at least 14 brand-name drugs commonly used by seniors are scheduled to become available in generic form, according to a new analysis released by PCMA. The analysis examined the top 100 drugs used by seniors to arrive at a conservative estimate of potential Medicare cost savings. Among the key findings are the following: for the remainder of 2006, four drugs commonly used by seniors-Zoloft (sertraline, Pfizer), Zocor (simvastatin, Merck), Pravachol (pravastatin, Bristol-Myers Squibb), and Proscar (finasteride, Merck)-are expected to go off patent or lose exclusivity and face generic competition. PCMA estimates potential Medicare savings from using generic versions of these products at approximately $1.5 billion in 2006 and $13 billion from 2006-2010. Other findings: seven more drugs commonly used by seniors are expected to be available as generics in 2007, with cost savings estimated at nearly $700 million that year and at about $7 billion from 2007-2010. The association, which represents PBMs, also warned in a recent conference call that these savings are at risk in the coming years as some special interest groups continue efforts "aimed at undermining generic alternatives," both in public programs and the commercial marketplace.

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