Generics are king.
Thats the message from the latest report on U.S. medication use by the IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics, which found that non-branded drugs now make up 78% of all prescriptions dispensed.
There are only three name-brand drugs on the list of the most commonly prescribed medications: Pfizers Lipitor, at #12; Sanofi-Aventiss and Bristol-Myers Squibbs Plavix, at #23 and Mercks Singulair, at #25. And all three are due to lose patent protection this year or next. (The report also says that within 6 months of patent loss, generics take 80% of prescription share.)
The years runaway favorite drug was, once again, hydrocodone/acetaminophen, the generic form of the painkiller Vicodin. More than 131 million prescriptions were dispensed last year, about 37 million more than the second-most popular drug, the generic anti-cholesterol drug simvastatin.
The list of top-selling drugs by dollars, of course, is made up entirely of brand-name drugs, with Lipitor, AstraZenecas Nexium, Plavix, GlaxoSmithKlines Advair Diskus and Bristol-Myerss and Otsuka Americas Abilify as Nos. 1-5. (Forbess Matthew Herper wonders how Nexium, the poster child for me-too medicines, managed to generate $6.3 billion in sales.)
Overall, spending on medicines rose to more than $307 billion, up just 2.3%. Heres the Dow Jones Newswires story about the report.
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