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$7B

June 21, 2017

Generic drugs have saved the U.S. health care system $1.67 trillion in the last decade, with $253 billion saved in 2016 alone. The savings for New Jersey in 2016 were $7 billion. That’s according to the 2017 Generic Drug Access and Savings in the United States Report, which is compiled on behalf of the Association for Accessible Medicines (AAM).

New Jersey’s 2016 savings were for commercial insured ($3.3 billion), Medicare ($2.2 billion), Medicaid ($1.3 billion), and cash for the non-insured ($279 million).

The report noted that while generics make up 89 percent of prescriptions dispensed they account for only 26 percent of total spending on medicine.

One telling difference between brand and generic drugs, as analyzed in the report, concerns “abandonment behavior” — whether patients pick up or abandon a medication they have requested at a pharmacy. It turns out that abandonment rates for brand-name drugs are 266 percent higher than for generic drugs, with cost playing a significant role in that abandonment.

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