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Employer News | November 27, 2012
Employer News | November 27, 2012

New Generics Offer Millions in Potential Savings

Upstate New Yorkers could see more than $700 million in savings each year as the generic equivalents of 35 brand-name prescription drugs become available during 2012 and 2013.

Topping the list of new generic alternatives that offer the greatest potential for savings are:

  • Plavix® for heart patients
  • Singulair® for asthma and allergic rhinitis
  • Cymbalta® for treatment of depression, pain and fibromyalgia

Plavix has about 62,000 users in upstate New York, Singulair about 91,000 users and Cymbalta about 42,000 users. The opportunity for annual savings from wide generic availability of these three drugs alone could total $264 million.

For example, upstate New York’s 62,000 Plavix users spend about $127 million annually for the drug. The retail cost for a 30-day supply of brand-name Plavix is about $230. When its patent expired in May, generic versions priced as low as $10 for a 30-day supply became available (prices vary by pharmacy). The potential annual savings for Plavix users in upstate New York is an estimated $100 million.

More than 529,000 upstate New Yorkers use the 35 brand-name drugs that have, or will have, generic versions during 2012 and 2013. These include:

  • Lexapro® for depression
  • Actos® for diabetes
  • Diovan® and Diovan HCT® for high blood pressure
  • Niaspan® for cholesterol
  • Aciphex® for heartburn

The savings opportunity offered by generic drugs is so great that health insurers consider the lower cost of generics when constructing premium rates. Prescription drug spending represents about 15 percent to 17 percent of health insurance coverage premiums.

We have been issuing targeted communications to members on brand-name drugs in selected medication categories to inform members about cost-saving generic options. In September 2012, we mailed to over 5,000 members who may have been prescribed one of the targeted Proton Pump Inhibitor drugs, Aciphex, Dexilant or Nexium. Our responsibility is to educate members and to get them to talk to their doctor about generic options that are available to them. 

We will continue informing members about new generics and cost-savings opportunities into 2013 and beyond.

More information on generic savings >>


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