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CVS Caremark, Harvard and Brigham and Women's Research Shows Generic Medications are Changing the Economics of Treating Chronically Ill Patients
Date:7/7/2011

WOONSOCKET, R.I., July 7, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- As the nation seeks to expand health care coverage to more citizens without adding burdensome costs, researchers from Harvard University, Brigham and Women's Hospital and CVS Caremark (NYSE: CVS) reported that preventative health care may be significantly less costly than previously thought, due to expanded use of cost-effective generic medications for the treatment and prevention of chronic disease.

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A study released today in the July issue of Health Affairs concludes that preventive health care is considerably less costly than previous industry estimates, because earlier studies projected financial impact based on costs of branded medications. Today, the cost to consumers and the health care system are significantly lower because generics are broadly available for most chronic diseases, the researchers said.

For example, an influential 2008 study looking at preventing cardiovascular disease used branded medications to estimate the cost for lowering LDL cholesterol at $83,327 per quality adjusted life year (QALY), a financial measure that evaluates the impact of improving the quality of life for patients with chronic diseases. Today, recalculating for the same treatment using generic alternatives would be $17,084 per QALY, or 20 percent of the original estimate. More dramatic is a cost comparison for treating for glucose control in cardiovascular patients, with the 2008 study estimating a $48,759 per QALY cost, versus the study's recalculation with generics at $1,022 per QALY, just two percent of the original estimate.  

With more than 70 percent of health care costs in the U.S. spent treating patients who have one or more chronic disease, the researchers said generic medications are changing the economics of treating chronically ill pa
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SOURCE CVS Caremark
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