EpiPen Aside, Generic Drug Industry Touts Overall Savings


The generic drug industry is touting its role in saving money for the U.S. health-care system even as some individual companies have been harshly criticized for price hikes.

The Generic Pharmaceutical Association (GPhA) said in a report released Oct. 19 that generic drug savings reached $227 billion in 2015. The group also said generics make up 89 percent of prescriptions dispensed, but only 27 percent of total medicine spending.

Drugmakers are under heavy scrutiny by lawmakers, consumers, medical professionals and presidential candidates for their pricing practices. Most recently, generic drugmaker Mylan Inc. came under attack for increasing the cost of its EpiPen allergy injection by 400 percent in nine years.

Also, the American Hospital Association Oct. 11 issued a report on drug price increases and said prices are increasing for both branded and generic drugs.

Murray Aitken, executive director of the QuintilesIMS Institute, which compiled the report on behalf of the GPhA, said during a press briefing that the report doesn’t look at generic drug price increases. While Congress and the media have paid a lot of attention to individual price increases, “it is equally important to keep in mind the macroeconomic impact” of generic drugs, he said.

Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Brian Rye told me that “the report underscores why generic drugmakers don’t support government intervention to drive brand-name drug prices lower.”

“High brand-name prices give them a better opportunity to demonstrate their value proposition,” Rye said. “Forcibly lowered brand-name prices reduce the case for generic alternatives.”

My full article on the report is at http://www.bna.com/generic-drug-industry-n57982078912/.

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