New Generic Drugs Available Soon!

There is good news on the horizon with respect to many popular prescription drugs; they are about to get cheaper.  Prescription drug expenses have increased from 10% of the overall cost of health care in 2000 to 22% in 2010.  This increase in drug costs are a result of many factors which include an aging population, intense direct to consumer drug marketing, increased demand, a willingness by the providers to write a prescription for malpractice protection, and the FDA exclusive rights to market a drug at a premium price for a set period of time.  These patents promote a balance between new drug innovations and generic competition but can be a “tough pill to swallow” for employers trying to reign in drug card costs.

Among the major drugs on the list for the next year include:

Lipitor, the most popular cholesterol drug, goes generic in two months
Solodyn, used to treat bacterial infections, November
Zyprexa, which treats schizophrenia, October
Lexapro, used to treat depression, March, 2012
Provigil, used to treat sleep problems, April, 2012
Plavix, an antiplatelet drug which prevents blood clots, May, 2012
Singulair, an Asthma drug, August, 2012

There is no clear indication how much cheaper the generic drugs will be within the next six months but good news is on the horizon.  A 20mg prescription for Lipitor costs $186.00, 75mg of Plavix runs $215, 10mg Singulair is $182.00 and Zyprexa runs more than $400 all for a 30-day supply.  If history repeats itself we can look no further than Prozac, the wonder drug of the 90s which at one time sold for $200 per month is now $16 in the generic form.

Helping your employees understand how to maximize their drug card not only saves the patient money, but softens the blow on your group health insurance experience which has been dominated by prescription drug runaway expenses during the past ten years.  For more information concerning how to lower your health care costs, please do not hesitate to give us a call.

Burman S. Clark

Burman S. Clark, RHU, CSA is the President of Muneris Benefits and a licensed insurance broker and consultant. His independent practice and focuses on employee benefits, individual life, disability, medical, and senior products. Burman has traveled extensively and provided guidance to large employer associations with regards to the Affordable Care Act.