Statement by Ralph G. Neas, President and CEO, GPhA on Generic Drug Access in Medicare Part D
WASHINGTON, DC (December 18, 2014) —
“GPhA applauds the new findings of the Senate Special Committee on Aging and welcomes further conversation on increasing generic drug utilization in government programs, particularly Medicare Part D. Indeed, as the report, Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Benefit: Increasing Use and Access of Affordable Prescription Drugs, states, competition from generic drugs translates into real savings for both taxpayers and beneficiaries. Additionally, the analysis points to the role of generics in slowing healthcare spending growth and boosting medication adherence, underscoring that generic drugs play a critical role in patient savings and also put safe, more affordable generic drugs within reach for millions of Americans.
Joining numerous studies, including a recent Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) report, the report underscores that generic drugs are instrumental in lowering healthcare costs in Medicare, but there is still unrealized potential for even greater savings. For example, Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates show that changing Part D LIS cost-sharing policies to improve generic utilization could save the federal government $24.2 billion over 10 years while improving access for its beneficiaries.
Embracing measures that promote market competition from generic drugs can be critical to increasing access and savings for millions of people. One additional area that GPhA is hopeful that Congress will address in 2015 is the misuse of programs designed to protect patient safety such as Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategies (REMS). These tactics cost the U.S. health system $5.4 billion, according to Matrix Global Advisors. That is why the Association supports the bipartisan Fair Access for Safe and Timely (FAST) Generics Act, introduced by Congressman Steve Stivers (R-OH) and Congressman Peter Welch (D-VT), which would limit brand drug company maneuvers that misuse REMS and thwart competition from more affordable generics.
GPhA and its members look forward to expanding the dialogue on generic medicines and health cost savings. We look forward to working with Congress and others to develop practical solutions that support our nation’s health system sustainability and ensure safe and timely patient access to generic drugs and biosimilars.”
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 86 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. Follow us on twitter: @gpha.