Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Use of $4 generic drug programs could save society billions of dollars, U.S. study shows

Date:
March 15, 2011
Source:
University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences
Summary:
If all eligible patients filled their prescriptions through a $4 generic drug program, the societal savings could amount to nearly $6 billion, according to new U.S. study. It is the first to evaluate the potential national savings from a broad use of the discounted generic medication programs that are available at many retail stores' pharmacies.

If all eligible patients filled their prescriptions through a $4 generic drug program, the societal savings could amount to nearly $6 billion, according to a University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health (GSPH) study.

Published in the March 14 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, the study is the first to evaluate the potential national savings from a broad use of discounted generic medication programs that are available at many retail stores' pharmacies.

The study examined a large group of people who used generic medications or their brand-name counterparts -- drugs like lovastatin or prescription-strength ibuprofen -- that also were available for $4 per 30-day supply through a discounted generic drug program. The study found that among the patients taking these medications, less than 6 percent used the $4 generic medication programs in 2007, even though on average prescription drug coverage plans ask patients to pay about $10 per 30-day supply for generic drugs and about $25 per 30-day supply for brand-name medications.

Had all eligible patients used the discount programs in 2007, the societal savings would have been $5.8 billion.

"Although just half of the potential users of the $4 programs would have saved more than $22 a year in out-of-pocket expenses, the societal savings are great. This suggests the majority of savings comes from a small proportion of individuals," said the study's lead author, Yuting Zhang, Ph.D., assistant professor of health policy and management, GSPH.

The researchers examined a nationally representative sample of nearly 31,000 people in the 2007 Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS) and identified patients who could have saved money had they filled their medications through a discount generic drug program. The researchers calculated potential savings as the difference between the actual prescription payments recorded in MEPS and the $4 the patients would have paid through a discount program.

"We are not promoting any specific pharmacy or any retail store's discount generic medication program," Dr. Zhang said. "However, if policy makers and clinicians direct patients to low-cost generic programs, patients and taxpayers could save tremendously."

The study was funded by the RAND University of Pittsburgh Health Institute and the National Institutes of Health-funded Clinical and Translational Science Institute: Translating Research into Practice Program. Co-authors include Lei Zhou, M.S., of GSPH, and Walid F. Gellad, M.D., of the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, the VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System and the RAND Corp.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Yuting Zhang; Lei Zhou; Walid F. Gellad. Potential Savings From Greater Use of $4 Generic Drugs. Arch Intern Med, 2011; 171 (5): 468-469 DOI: 10.1001/archinternmed.2011.46

Cite This Page:

University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences. "Use of $4 generic drug programs could save society billions of dollars, U.S. study shows." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 15 March 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110314163443.htm>.
University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences. (2011, March 15). Use of $4 generic drug programs could save society billions of dollars, U.S. study shows. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 17, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110314163443.htm
University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences. "Use of $4 generic drug programs could save society billions of dollars, U.S. study shows." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110314163443.htm (accessed April 17, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) A new study conducted by researchers at Northwestern and Harvard suggests even casual marijuana use can alter your brain. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Thousands Of Vials Of SARS Virus Go Missing

Thousands Of Vials Of SARS Virus Go Missing

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) A research institute in Paris somehow misplaced more than 2,000 vials of the deadly SARS virus. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Formerly Conjoined Twins Released From Dallas Hospital

Formerly Conjoined Twins Released From Dallas Hospital

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) Conjoined twins Emmett and Owen Ezell were separated by doctors in August. Now, nearly nine months later, they're being released from the hospital. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Outbreak Now Linked To 121 Deaths

Ebola Outbreak Now Linked To 121 Deaths

Newsy (Apr. 15, 2014) The ebola virus outbreak in West Africa is now linked to 121 deaths. Health officials fear the virus will continue to spread in urban areas. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins