Community Pharmacists Promoting the Proper Use of Cost-Saving Generic Drugs to Reduce Health Care Spending

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Alexandria, Va. - September 22, 2011

A new analysis conducted by IMS Health on behalf of the Generic Pharmaceutical Association finds that generic prescription drugs have saved the U.S. health care system $931 billion in the past decade and $158 billion in 2010 alone. Contributing greatly to those savings totals, the generic dispensing rate of independent community pharmacists hit an all-time high of 72 percent during 2010, according to the 2011 NCPA Digest, sponsored by Cardinal Health, which will be released in full at NCPA's 113th Annual Convention and Trade Exposition, Oct. 8-12 in Nashville.

NCPA Executive Vice President and CEO B. Douglas Hoey, RPh, MBA, issued the following statement in response to the findings:

"Increasing the appropriate use of generic drugs is the fastest, most effective way to reduce prescription drug costs and independent community pharmacists are helping to lead the way. The 2011 NCPA Digest, which is a snapshot of the community pharmacy industry in 2010, indicates that local pharmacists dispensed generic drugs more often than ever—72 percent of the time, up from 69 percent in 2009. Community pharmacists also continue to dispense affordable, generic medications more frequently than mail order pharmacies by 10-13 percentage points. Mail order pharmacies benefit from 'spread pricing', the difference between what the pharmacy benefit manager pays the pharmacy and what it charges the employer, and brand-name manufacturer rebates.

"The new IMS data indicates that Medicaid can save $1.3 billion annually by achieving a 2 percent increase in the use of generics, known as the generic dispensing rate. Community pharmacists look forward to working with the federal government, states and other health plan sponsors to further reduce costs through the appropriate use of generics.

"The second major way to reduce prescription drug costs is to ensure that these medications are taken as prescribed by doctors in the first place. Community pharmacists work face-to-face to counsel patents and promote proper medication use, or adherence."

The National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA®) represents the interests of America's community pharmacists, including the owners of more than 23,000 independent community pharmacies, pharmacy franchises, and chains. Together they represent a $93 billion health-care marketplace, have more than 315,000 employees including 62,400 pharmacists, and dispense over 41% of all retail prescriptions. To learn more go to or read NCPA's blog, The Dose, at

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