Generic prescriptions are on the rise, as doctors are prescribing them, and pharmacies are filling them, now more than ever. We recently wrote that the percentage of generic scripts being dispensed rose to 78% last year. But the popularity for generics – attributed to the significantly lower price tag compared to brand name drugs – is expected to take on a whole new meaning, as the patents for some blockbuster brand name drugs expire this year; this is also known as the “Patent Cliff”.
The biggest prize, Pfizer’s Lipitor (for Cholesterol), the number one selling drug in the U.S., goes generic later this year (November 2011); and Plavix (a blood thinner) and Actos (for Diabetes) will follow (May 2012 and August 2012, respectively). As patents run out, these and other popular prescription drugs will be far more affordable in the U.S., since generic drug prices tend to be lower here than in other countries.
Looking at the numbers in our 2011 Consumer Guide, it’s easy to see why generic options are so essential. For example, Zocor, a Cholesterol-reducer, costs $542.75 for a three-month supply at a U.S. bricks and mortar pharmacy. It’s generic, Simvastatin, costs just $193.99 at the same pharmacy; better yet, Simvastatin is only $10.83 at Costco.com – a savings of 95%!
Several blockbuster brand name drugs will remain patented for quite some time, consider Seroquel and Celebrex – both remain on patent until 2014. And of course, not all brand name drugs face the Cliff, and many new products will remain out of reach by uninsured and underinsured Americans. Fortunately, safe international online pharmacies provide much lower costs and affordable options. For those critics of safe personal drug importation via online pharmacies, however, here is a lesson in how to ethically persuade Americans to stop shopping for medication online in Canada and other countries – just bring down prices here at home!Tagged with: Actos, blood thinner, brand name drugs, Canada, Celebrex, Cholesterol, consumer guide, Costco.com, diabetes, generic prescriptions, Lipitor, Patent Cliff, Pfizer, Plavix, Seroquel, Simvastatin, U.S. pharmacies, United States, Zocor