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IMS Health Study Confirms Landmark Cost-Savings from Generic Pharmaceuticals

WASHINGTON, DC, (May 9, 2013) – The Generic Pharmaceutical Association (GPhA) welcomes the IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics findings that show the first drop in consumers’ pharmaceutical spending in more than 50 years. Not surprisingly, generic drug use is driving this trend. IMS data shows a one percent drop in spending on prescription medicine in 2012, to $325.8 billion, the first decline since 1957.

“Generic medicines are a bright spot in the otherwise difficult story of health costs, and an essential part of the solution to alleviate strain on our health system and economy,” said Ralph G. Neas, President and CEO of the Generic Pharmaceutical Association. “As generic companies continue to successfully bring drugs to market in advance of, and at, patent expiration, U.S. consumers and the health system stands to save billions of dollars without compromising on quality or safety.”

In fact, an IMS health analysis released by GPhA in August 2012 showed that generic pharmaceuticals have achieved one trillion dollars in savings over the past decade, nearly $193 billion in 2011 alone, all of which translates to more than one billion dollars in savings every other day.

“This report demonstrates the impact generic medicines have had to date, but there is even more we can do,” said Neas. “The untapped potential of biosimilars, which have been safely dispensed in Europe for seven years, could save additional billions. This report underscores how critical it is that the FDA, the industry, and state governments work together to remove barriers to market entry for biosimilar therapies, and build on our success to date by delivering tomorrow’s affordable medicines.”

At the federal level, FDA is developing regulations that will allow for biosimilars approval and use in the U.S. In the states, bills that would create barriers between patients and these lower-cost, life-saving medicines have been sponsored by Amgen and Genentech, two biotech behemoths. But, a growing list of states, including just this past week, Florida, Indiana and Colorado, are refusing to enact these problematic measures, reflecting a growing understanding of the importance of biosimilar competition to help drive down health costs, and ensure these breakthrough medicines are accessible to patients and consumers.

GPhA represents the manufacturers and distributors of finished generic pharmaceuticals, manufacturers and distributors of bulk pharmaceutical chemicals, and suppliers of other goods and services to the generic industry. Generic pharmaceuticals fill 80 percent of the prescriptions dispensed in the U.S. but consume just 27 percent of the total drug spending. Additional information is available at gphaonline.org.

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