High drug bills? Turn to your pharmacist for help

Generics/General | Posted 15/04/2022 post-comment0 Post your comment

Many Americans require prescription drugs on a daily basis. With year-on-year price increases of branded products, turning to pharmacists for advice could reduce the financial strain on households [1, 2].

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In a recent report, SingleCare, a free medication savings service, found that 852 prescription drugs in the US saw an average price increase of 8.1% between 2021 and 2022. Many drug manufacturers increase prices each year, for example, in recent years, drug manufacturer Merck has been raising prices by 11% each year, while Amgen raised its prices by 10% in 2021.

It has been hoped that generic and biosimilar drug products could help improve the affordability of medications. These products can be up to 85% cheaper than their branded alternatives. However, many Americans remain in the dark about generic drug options and continue to purchase the higher price options.

In this landscape, it is clear that community pharmacists should play a key role in providing patient information about generics and, in particular, biosimilars [2-4]. They can advise patients on more affordable options and liaise with doctors to provide patients with lower priced drugs that are available through health insurance. However, in many cases, pharmacists are often prevented from offering cheaper alternatives due to agreements with insurance companies. This should now be made possible in some states due to new legislation that gives pharmacists the ability to recommend cheaper drug options [5].

It has been shown that, in circumstances where pharmacist-driven substitution has occurred, substantial savings have been made. This is evidenced by a recent study substituting biosimilars for brand name drugs in the oncology setting [3].

Related article
Economic considerations for biosimilars in the US


The new section of the ‘Latin American Forum’ on GaBI has been launched. The objective of this new section is to provide you with all the latest news and updates on developments of generic and biosimilar medicines in Latin America in Spanish.

View last week’s headline article: Biocomparables aprobados en México

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Se ha lanzado la nueva sección del ‘Foro Latinoamericano’ sobre GaBI. El objetivo de esta nueva sección es brindarle las últimas noticias y actualizaciones sobre desarrollos de medicamentos genéricos y biosimilares en América Latina en español.

Vea el artículo principal de la semana pasada: Biocomparables aprobados en México

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1. GaBI Online - Generics and Biosimilars Initiative. More out of pocket costs for US patients with rising prescription drug prices [www.gabionline.net]. Mol, Belgium: Pro Pharma Communications International; [cited 2022 Apr 8]. Available from: www.gabionline.net/generics/research/More-out-of-pocket-costs-for-US-patients-with-rising-prescription-drug-prices
2. GaBI Online - Generics and Biosimilars Initiative. Clinical pharmacists have a critical role in increasing biosimilar uptake [www.gabionline.net]. Mol, Belgium: Pro Pharma Communications International; [cited 2022 Apr 8]. Available from: www.gabionline.net/biosimilars/research/clinical-pharmacists-have-a-critical-role-in-increasing-biosimilar-uptake
3. GaBI Online - Generics and Biosimilars Initiative. Pharmacist driven biosimilar substitution saves money [www.gabionline.net]. Mol, Belgium: Pro Pharma Communications International; [cited 2022 Apr 8]. Available from: www.gabionline.net/biosimilars/research/pharmacist-driven-biosimilar-substitution-saves-money
4. GaBI Online - Generics and Biosimilars Initiative. Pharmacists prefer generic OTC medicines [www.gabionline.net]. Mol, Belgium: Pro Pharma Communications International; [cited 2022 Apr 8]. Available from: www.gabionline.net/generics/research/Pharmacists-prefer-generic-OTC-medicines
5. GaBI Online - Generics and Biosimilars Initiative. Bills increase access to affordable drugs in the US and the Philippines [www.gabionline.net]. Mol, Belgium: Pro Pharma Communications International; [cited 2022 Apr 8]. Available from: www.gabionline.net/policies-legislation/Bills-increase-access-to-affordable-drugs-in-the-US-and-the-Philippines

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