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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

tients.  "Prevention of cardiovascular disease, the most common cause of death in the U.S., is central to any policy discussion about overall health care costs. Approximately 80 million Americans have some form of cardiovascular disease with annual costs in the U.S. reaching $475 billion. Cardiovascular disease prevention can be largely accomplished with low-cost generic medications," they said.

"There is no question prevention is more affordable with the use of generics," said William H. Shrank, MD, MSHS, of Harvard and Brigham and Women's and lead author of the study. "Policy makers looking to improve and expand health care options should make sure generics are readily accessible for chronically ill patients. In addition, the topic of generics and effective preventive treatment should be central to any debate on making health care more affordable."

"No matter who holds the financial risk – the patient, employer or government health plan – using generic medications has to be a key part of managing treatment for chronically ill patients. This is a practical solution we need to focus on as we work to operate the health care system in a more cost-effective way," said Troyen A. Brennan, MD, MPH, executive vice present and chief medical officer of CVS Caremark, also a study author.  

The research team included recommendations for policy makers to consider, such as:

  • Promoting the use of generics in the new Accountable Care Organizations treatment standards, where there are incentives to prevent adverse health outcomes while lowering overall healthcare costs.
  • Limiting the use of prescription writing practices such as Dispense as Written – where doctors and patients can require their prescription be filled as a specific brand -- and amending state Medicaid statutes that require patient consent before generics can be substituted, because those practices add billions to the co
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SOURCE CVS Caremark
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