Generics slow rising cost of prescription drugs in 2003

ST. LOUIS, June 8, 2004 Higher generic drug use in 2003 slowed the rising cost per prescription to a 7.9% increase -- from $51.76 to $55.86. This rate of increase was significantly less than the 13.1% increase from 2001 to 2002, and the lowest rate in the past four years.

Generic drug use increased to a record 48% among Express Scripts' 50 million members during 2003, spurred by the use of several prominent new generics, fluoxetine, omeprazole and lisinopril. The company's overall generic dispensing rate increased to 49% in the first quarter of 2004. The drug spending data was announced in the company's annual Drug Trend Report released today at the Express Scripts Outcomes Conference.

Facing generic competition by the end of 2008 are branded pharmaceutical products accounting for more than $38 billion in sales last year, resulting in significant savings for plan sponsors and their members. Express Scripts' statistics show that for every 1% increase in generic drug use, prescription benefit plan sponsors save 1% off their cost for drugs in providing the benefit.

In addition to the release of new generic drugs, the greater use of generic drugs can be attributed to greater management of the pharmacy benefit by Express Scripts clients. In particular, the company has seen increased deployment of step therapy programs, which promote the use of lower cost brand drugs before stepping up to a more expensive brand.

Also growing in popularity was the Express Scripts High Performance Formulary, which most effectively promotes the use generics and low-cost brand drugs. The 10 plan sponsors that have adopted this formulary since 2002 reversed the typical year-to-year increase in drug costs and saw their drug spending go down.

Launched during the Outcomes Conference was a new generics-focused trend management tool called GenericsWorkSM, which allows plan sponsors to improve

Contact: Derrell Carter
Express Scripts, Inc.

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