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PBMs say generics thwarted.

At least 14 brand name drugs are due to go off-patent in the next 5 years, representing $23 billion in potential savings to Medicare Part D, but pharmaceutical manufacturers are doing all they can to block generic competition, claims the Pharmaceutical Care Management Association in a new report. PCMA's members--managed drug benefit plans--negotiate discounts with drug makers on behalf of employers and insurers and are under pressure to keep pharmaceutical prices down so they can offer competitively priced plans to Medicare beneficiaries. The organization says that this year alone, $1.5 billion could be saved on four drugs due to lose exclusivity: Zoloft (sertraline), Zocor (simvastatin), Proscar (finasteride), and Pravachol (pravastatin). The Food and Drug Administration just approved a generic pravastatin. The savings assume that 90% of Medicare prescriptions would be switched to generics, and that the generic would cost 60% less than the brand. In 2007, seven popular products--Norvasc (amlodipine besylate), Ambien (zoldipem tartrate), Zyrtec (cetirizine), Lotrel (amlodipine/benazepril), Coreg (carvedilol), Lamisil (terbinafine), and Tequin (gatifloxicin), are due to lose patent protection, noted PCMA, which could lead to $700 million in savings that year. But the group said that drug companies have opposed legislation that would speed generics to market or that would mandate generic substitution.

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Title Annotation:Policy & Practice; competition from generic drugs
Comment:PBMs say generics thwarted.(Policy & Practice)(competition from generic drugs)
Author:Nickell, Nancy
Publication:Family Practice News
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jun 1, 2006
Words:207
Previous Article:Part D formulary override form.
Next Article:Medicare Trustees report.
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