Health Plan Could Save $1B Per Year with Generic Drugs

Excellus BlueCross BlueShield says it could save $460 million to $1 billion per year if its customers use more generic drugs instead of name-brand prescriptions, according to a new report from the insurer.

That's because the average 30-day costs for brand drugs have risen exponentially--a 73% increase from $120 to $208 over the last 5 years--compared to generics, which actually decreased 7.5% from $19 to $18, the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle reports.

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Source: Fierce Health Payer

Adding to this cost trend is the fact that "no less than 42 brand-name drugs either have or will become available as generics in 2011 and 2012, which easily can mean a 2-point to 4-point increase in the upstate New York generic fill rate," says Joel Owerbach, Excellus vice president and chief pharmacy officer.