Good news regarding generic prescription medications: they can help Medicare beneficiaries save money. In fact, use of generic drugs throughout the United States has saved consumers as well as health care in excess of $900 billion over the last 10 years, according to the Generic Pharmaceutical Association (GPhA).

“From what I understand, the analysis shows that there has been significant savings through the use of generic medications,” notes Betty Hill. “This is a huge win for Medicare beneficiaries as well as other consumers who are looking to keep their health care costs to a minimum.”

New Report about Generic Medications

The GPhA report “Savings: An Economic Analysis of Generic Drug Usage in the U.S.” claims that in 2010 alone generic medication use resulted in a $158 billion savings.

What the new report found is that:

* Savings from generic medications that have entered the market since 2001 have grown, reaching over $360 billion as of the end of 2010
* Generic products for nervous system and cardiovascular treatments account for 62% of the savings
* Generic medications account for less drug spending than brand products despite the fact that there are nearly seven times as many products on the market now
* Patent settlements have saved billions of dollars as dozens of first-time generics have entered the market prior to the patent’s expiration

GPhA believes health care could achieve more savings through:

* Increased funding to ensure timely review and approval of new generics
* The creation of an approval process for biogenerics that is workable and free from obstacles
* Access to affordable generics by allowing manufacturers to settle patent challenges and bring generics to market sooner

Medicare Beneficiaries Can Save Big with Generic Drugs

If you’re like many seniors, you might have some concern about using generic prescription drugs instead of brand names. However, word from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is that though generics are copies of brand-name drugs, they are the same in “dosage form, safety and strength, route of administration, quality, performance characteristics and intended use.”

On their webpage, “Understanding Generic Drugs,” the FDA answers questions and provides information about facts, myths, news and alerts along with a variety of educational materials including a webinar about generic drugs.

In addition, they include a reassurance that FDA-approved generic medications must meet the same rigid standards as the original brand-name drug. They must have the same “high quality, strength, purity and stability as brand-name drugs.” Moreover, the generic manufacturing, packaging, and testing facilities have to pass the same quality standards as those of the original drugs.

Betty Hills has been in the Medicare Supplement Insurance Plan business for over 20 years. You can connect on Twitter @MedicarePlansCA.

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