THURSDAY, Dec. 9, 2021 (HealthDay News) -- Substituting brand-name with generic cardiovascular medications could potentially save $641 million per year, according to a study published online Dec. 9 in Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes.
Iris Ma, M.D., from the California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco, and colleagues conducted a cross-sectional study of cardiovascular therapies using the Medicare Part D database of prescription medications in 2017. Drug fill patterns were assessed for therapies with available brand-name and generic options. The generic substitution ratio was examined, and potential savings associated with increased generic substitution were estimated at the national, state, and clinician levels.
The researchers found that ~$11.0 billion of the ~$22.9 billion spent on cardiovascular drugs in Medicare Part D prescription programs in 2017 was spent on medications with both brand-name and generic options. Brand-name choice represented 2.4 percent of medication fills, but accounted for 21.2 percent of total spending. Generic substitutions for these medications would save $641 million, including $135 million in costs shouldered by patients, after accounting for estimated brand-name rebates. A large proportion of the potential cost savings was due to the minority of clinicians with the lowest generic utilization.
"Increasing the use of generic medications would decrease patient out-of-pocket costs and make medications more affordable, which may, in turn, improve adherence rates and reduce the financial burden of medication therapy," a coauthor said in a statement.
One author disclosed financial ties to Acumen LLC.