As employees learn more about the availability of generic medications, they begin to make more cost efficient choices in the doctor’s office. Seems like a simple enough concept, and now there is more evidence to prove it.
A recent report from CVS Caremark has found a strong correlation between the amount of education employees receive regarding the use of generic medications and the reduction of the employers’ overall health care costs.
The 2010 Insights Report found that CVS Caremark was able to improve their GDR, or generic dispensing rate, by more than 3% in 2009 to 68.2% by educating customers on the money-saving advantages of generic medications. This increase also came during a time when few noteworthy generic alternatives were introduced.
Proactively, employers have designed their plans to maximize the availability of generic medications, while creating outreach programs in the workplace and with plan physicians. According to CVS Caremark, these tactics have been able to increase GDR dramatically, up to 90% in some drug classes.
Outreach programs and other tactics, like preferred drug lists, have been working for some time now. A Harris Poll study from October 2006 to December 2008, found that the amount of adults who would select generic alternatives to brand name medications jumped from 68% to 81%. Since more generic medications are hitting the market, this percentage is likely to increase.
In recent years, the patents ran out on brand name medications that have sold nearly $71 billion combined, and within the next five years, patents are expected to lapse on brand name drugs that sell more than $100 billion each year, all together.
The CVS Caremark research team predicts that this new wave of generic therapeutics could result in doctors writing about 80% of their prescriptions for generic alternatives as early as 2012.
The announcement of new generic drugs is music to employers’ ears, as they continue to look for ways to steer employees toward more cost efficient health care methods. As workers begin to understand how their use of generic medications is safe and financially responsible, the cost of benefits can be reduced, saving everyone money.