Physicians could save $641M per year by prescribing generic CVD medications

Physicians could save an estimated $641 million each year in healthcare costs by prescribing more generic cardiovascular disease (CVD) medications to patients on Medicare Part D prescription plans, according to new findings published in Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes. That includes $135 million each year in out-of-pocket costs paid by patients.

The study’s authors used national prescription data from 2017 to track prescriptions for cardiac and vascular issues. Medicare Part D paid out nearly $23 billion for CVD medications that year, the group found—and $11 billion was spent on medications that were available in both generic and brand-name versions.

“Increasing the use of generic medications would decrease patient out-of-pocket costs and make medications more affordable, which may, in turn, improve adherence rates and reduce the financial burden of medication therapy,” senior author Alexander Sandhu, MD, MS, of Stanford University School of Medicine, said in a prepared statement.

Sandhu et al. also noted that a select group of physicians could make a massive difference by changing to generic CVD medications. In fact, if just 8.2% of the 418,836 prescribing physicians included in the study prescribed generic medications instead of their name-brand counterparts it could lead to more than $300 million in cost savings.  

“Ensuring that patients almost always receive the generic option will further reduce patient out-of-pocket costs,” Sandhu added. “Healthcare systems should continue to find ways to encourage clinicians and patients toward generic medication options when available.”

Click here to read full study in Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes.

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