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Study reveals $20 billion in untapped generic drug savings

ST. LOUIS, October 25, 2005 U.S. consumers could have saved $20 billion in 2004 and even more during this and future years by using more generic drugs, according to a new report by Express Scripts, Inc. Projectable to the U.S. commercially insured population, the study examined six major drug-therapy classes and was based on a random sample of approximately 3 million individuals.

The Express Scripts "2004 Generic Drug Usage Report" also ranked generic drug use and savings opportunities by state, revealing significant variation across the six drug categories used to treat common conditions like stomach ulcers, inflammation, depression, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. The company is one of the nation's largest managers of pharmacy benefit plans for employers, governments, unions and health plans.

The most dramatic savings potential exists for generic gastrointestinals, which are dispensed only 31% nationwide, but could feasibly reach as much as 95% adoption, the report finds. As such, greater use of non-branded gastrointestinals alone could drive down costs an additional $5.4 billion nationally.

In the anti-cholesterol category, generics are only dispensed 7% of the time nationally. However, drug costs could be reduced an additional $5.1 billion annually if generic fill rates reach the 70% goal projected in the report. The generic fill rate goals utilized in the study are based on an evaluation of clinical efficacy and market dynamics of branded and generic medications.

"We have only scratched the surface in taking advantage of the money-saving potential of clinically sound generic drugs," said Steve Miller, MD, Express Scripts Vice President, Research, and a study author. "As additional generics come to market and the use of prescription drugs grows, the opportunity to lower healthcare costs becomes even more significant. Best of all, using more generics simply requires better education and awareness of altern
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Contact: Steve Littlejohn
slittlejohn@express-scripts.com
314-702-7556
Express Scripts, Inc.
25-Oct-2005


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