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2008 Sees Significant Rise in Prescription Abandonment and Uptake of Generics
Date:4/7/2009

aken orally. According to the data, there were 2.4 billion prescriptions filled for generic drugs and only 1.4 billion for brand-name medications --- an unprecedented spread of a billion prescriptions.

According to the data, U.S. prescriptions for generics and brands reached equilibrium in 2005 and then generics continued to build momentum each year thereafter increasing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 12 percent since 2004. Conversely, branded drugs slowed pace to a negative 6 percent CAGR for the same period.

"We're close to the point, certainly by the end of 2009, where two-out-of-every-three prescriptions filled will be generic," continued Spiers. "These trends are going to become even more pronounced moving forward as there are many blockbusters in major therapeutic areas like cholesterol reducers due to come off patent in the coming three years. The volume of available generics will increase, and there are very few new 'blockbuster' drugs in the pipeline to replace them."

According to Spiers, many factors contribute to the steady growth of generic prescriptions in America, among the most prevalent: patient education, awareness and changing attitudes. "Patients are becoming far more comfortable with the concept of using a generic in place of a brand. This, in part, is due to patient education programs and enthusiasm forged by marketing vehicles such as $4 generic drug programs," said Spiers.

The data also suggest that the economy is playing an enormous role in patient decision-making. As third-party insurers set higher co-pays for brands, patients are reacting by forcibly choosing generic alternatives. Spiers suggests that the economic downturn is going to further drive this demand and further spur prescription abandonment. "Increased unemployment and high numbers of newly uninsured are encouraging patients to look for ways to cut costs," added Spiers. "Choosing a generic ove
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SOURCE Wolters Kluwer Health
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