Generic Rx Has Majority of Market, IMS Study Shows

Generic prescriptions account for more of the pharmaceutical market than ever before and will likely bring savings to retail pharmacy. Sixty-five percent of all U.S. prescriptions dispensed are filled with generics, at costs of 30% to 80% less than brands, according to numbers from IMS Health, Fairfield, Conn., released recently at the Generic Pharmaceutical Association Annual Meeting

BOCA RATON, Fla. — Generic prescriptions account for more of the pharmaceutical market than ever before and will likely bring savings to retail pharmacy.

Sixty-five percent of all U.S. prescriptions dispensed are filled with generics, at costs of 30% to 80% less than brands, according to numbers from IMS Health, Fairfield, Conn., released recently at the Generic Pharmaceutical Association Annual Meeting here.

This represents only 20% of all dollars spent on prescription drugs and a 2% increase over last year, according to the figures.

“The ability of a pharmacist to substitute a brand-name drug with an FDA-approved generic equivalent saves money for patients, employers and insurers,” Cathy Polley, FMI vice president of pharmacy services, told SN. “Increased access to generic drugs in the marketplace means increased patient access to more affordable prescription medications. Community pharmacies support bringing affordable medications to the patients who need them.”

As a number of big-name drugs are set to lose patent protection this year — including the osteoporosis treatment Fosamax from Merck & Co., Whitehouse Station, N.J., and schizophrenia treatment Risperdal from Johnson & Johnson, New Brunswick, N.J. — the number of generics being prescribed is only expected to grow. Asthma treatment Advair from London-based GlaxoSmithKline goes off patent in 2010.

In addition, voters are going to the polls with access to affordable health care at the top of their minds, said Kathleen Jaeger, president and chief executive officer of Arlington, Va.-based GPhA.