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Groups Push Generics for Savings in Medicaid

November 28, 2011
A group of pharmacists, generic drug makers and consumer interest organizations are trying to build support for a bill that offers states financial incentives to use generic drugs under Medicaid instead of brand-name drugs, which supporters say will save both states and the federal government money.

The campaign is in its early stages -- too early, said Generic Pharmaceutical Association president and CEO Ralph Neas, to know if there will be an ad buy -- but "it'll be picking up steam," Neas said.

GPhA held a briefing earlier this month for Senate and House staffers to rally for the Affordable Medicines Utilization Act of 2011 and has been having meetings on the Hill and with administration officials, Neas said.

"Everyone is trying to save money, and we're sharing with them one of the easiest ways to save money," he said.

The bill, which was introduced in the Senate in July and in the House this month, has a bipartisan list of cosponsors. It was introduced partly as a result of an American Enterprise Institute study that found states could save hundreds of millions of dollars in Medicaid costs by reimbursing for generic drugs instead of brand-name drugs.

Groups supporting the legislation include the Consumer Federation of America, CVS Caremark, Express Scripts, the National Community Pharmacists Association and Teva Pharmaceuticals.

"As our nation's leaders seek to address our national debt and curtail unabated increases in health care costs, improving the utilization of more affordable generic medicines can help alleviate some of the budgetary pressures that patients and government officials are currently confronted with," the groups wrote in a letter to Rep. Charles Bass (R-N.H.), who introduced the bill in the House. "State Medicaid programs, in particular, must make the most efficient use of their dollars as they face increasing enrollment and declining revenues."
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