Generic and Biosimilar Drugs Generate a Record $373 Billion for America’s Patients and Healthcare System in 2021

Despite savings from generic drugs, many patients continue to pay more than necessary


On September 21, 2022, the Association for Accessible Medicines (AAM), the leading trade association for generic and biosimilar manufacturers, released its 2022 U.S. Generic & Biosimilar Medicines Savings Report highlighting the value of generic and biosimilar medicines.1

According to the analysis, the US healthcare system, including patients, employers, and taxpayers, saved $373 billion in 2021 by using FDA-approved generic and biosimilar drugs.

Ninety-one percent of the prescriptions filled in the United States in 2021 were filled with generic drugs, but those prescriptions accounted for only 18.2% of the country’s drug spending. In addition to the systemic savings that the generic drug industry generates, generic drugs create significant out-of-pocket savings for individual patients. Ninety-three percent of generic drugs have copays under $20 (as compared with 59% of brand-name drugs), and their average copay is $6.16 compared with an average out-of-pocket cost of $56.12 for their brand counterparts.

The market for biosimilar drugs continues to expand, and as they approach nearly 30% of the overall biologics market, they saved patients more than $7 billion dollars in 2021. The report finds the average sales price for biosimilars is on average 50% less than the reference brand biologic price. Further, competition from biosimilars has reduced the average sales price of their corresponding reference biologic by an average of 25%.

Voters continue to be alarmed over the cost of prescription drugs, and these findings only reinforce the critical importance of the generic and biosimilar drug industry to America’s patients.

“Often taken for granted, these savings are increasingly at risk,” said Dan Leonard, President and CEO of AAM. “Today, as a result of business decisions by middlemen, patients pay more than they should or are even prevented from the benefits of lower-cost generics and biosimilars overall. Policymakers must address these challenges and ensure patient access to more affordable generic and biosimilar medications.”

“Thanks to new biosimilar competition, more patients are receiving the care and medicines that they need,” said Craig Burton, Executive Director of the Biosimilars Council. “But new challenges on the horizon demand attention, including the launch of new pharmacy benefit biosimilars, ongoing gaps in biosimilar adoption, and brand rebate traps that continue to exploit perverse incentives in the healthcare system. The coming years will be critical to fulfill biosimilars’ promise for patients.”

Additional highlights from AAM’s 2022 Savings Report include:

  • Total generic and biosimilar savings for 2021: $373 billion
  • Total generic and biosimilar savings for past 10 years: more than $2.6 trillion
  • Total generic and biosimilar savings in Medicare for 2021: $119 billion
  • Total generic and biosimilar savings in commercial plans for 2021: $178 billion
  • Generics represent 91% of prescriptions filled, yet account for only 18.2% of prescription drug spending
  • Even at nearly 6.4 billion generic and biosimilar prescriptions dispensed, generics represent only 3% of all healthcare spending.

As in the past, this year’s report was developed utilizing independent research from IQVIA, which quantified how much money America’s patients and the US healthcare system are saving due to the use of generic and biosimilar alternatives.

Reference

  1. Association for Accessible Medicines. The U.S. generic & biosimilar medicines savings report. September 2022. https://accessiblemeds.org/sites/default/files/2022-09/AAM-2022-Generic-Biosimilar-Medicines-Savings-Report.pdf. Accessed September 21, 2022.

Related Articles