US Savings From Generics Totaled $265.1 Billion in 2017, Says AAM

Samantha DiGrande

The Association for Accessible Medicines (AAM) has released the 10th edition of its annual Generic Drug Access and Savings Report that provides an outline of the savings generated by generics and biosimilars in the past year.

The Association for Accessible Medicines (AAM) has released the 10th edition of its annual Generic Drug Access and Savings Report that provides an outline of the savings generated by generics and biosimilars in the past year.

The report, which represents data derived from IQVIA, discovered that in 2017, 9 out of every 10 prescriptions in the United States were dispensed using generic drugs. However, although branded drugs only represent about 10% of prescriptions, they account for 77% of total drug spending. Additionally, savings from generics in the United States totaled $265.1 billion in 2017 alone.

At the time the report was compiled, the FDA had approved 11 biosimilars, and the report notes that there were more than 60 additional products in development. Since then, the FDA has approved another filgrastim biosimilar, to be sold as Nivestym. “Biosimilars have the potential to improve the quality of life for American patients while at the same time saving the health system billions of dollars each year—provided that the right policies are in place to nurture a robust market,” read the AAM report.

“Anybody who cares about the US healthcare system, and all the patients who depend on it, should recognize the role that generic and biosimilar medicines play in keeping people healthy and productive,” said Chester Davis, Jr., president and CEO of AAM, in a statement.

The US healthcare system—and the rising cost of drugs—have indeed generated a great deal of attention since the announcement of the Trump administration’s blueprint to lower drug prices, and polls conducted by The Kaiser Family Health Foundation have repeatedly demonstrated that drug costs are a key issue for Americans; Kaiser has found that approximately 80% of Americans think that the cost of prescription drugs is unreasonable, and 73% believe that pharmaceutical companies are making too much profit on their products.

Americans are also having a hard time paying for their medications; Kaiser found than half of Americans are taking at least 1 prescription drug, and a quarter are taking at least 4. Although most respondents (74%) reported that they can afford their medications, among those who said that they take 4 or more drugs, 35% of uninsured people younger than 65 years said that they had skipped filling a prescription because of cost, and 26% reported cutting pills in half or missing doses to save money. Those who had an income of under $40,000 per year reported the worst compliance.