The US economy saved $1 trillion in the past decade by using pharmaceuticals without blue-chip brand names, a trade group in Washington said.
The Generic Pharmaceutical Association said Friday that a recently released Generic Drugs Savings study, sponsored by the association and conducted by the IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics, indicated that generic drugs saved consumers and the healthcare system a half billion dollars per day. In 2011 alone, $193 billion as saved by the use of generic drugs, the report said.
"As Congress and the White House gear up for the fiscal challenges facing them in the coming year, generic and biosimilar utilization are the best places to go for the 'offsets' that everyone will be desperately seeking," said Ralph Neas, the association's president and chief executive officer.
"The sustainability of the healthcare system and the national economy depend in significant measure on the availability of affordable medicines," he said.
In 2011, savings from generic drugs jumped 22 percent over savings of 2010, the study found.
The bulk of the savings, 57 percent, came from central nervous system drugs, "such as antidepressants and anticonvulsants and cardiovascular drugs," the report said.
Savings were underscored by another statistic. In 2011, nearly 80 percent of all prescriptions written in the United States -- about 4 billion scripts -- specified the pharmacist dispense generic drugs. In spite of that, generic drugs only accounted for 27 percent of the total spent on drugs, the association said in a statement.