Americans turn to generic medications in 2010: report

April 22, 2011 by Deborah Braconnier report

(Medical Xpress) -- In a new report released by the IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics, the results show that over 78% of the almost four billion prescriptions written in the U.S. in 2010 were for generic drugs. The top 10 prescribed drugs for the year were all generic medications, and there were only three brand name drugs which made the top 25 list. This information is good for consumers as it means medication costs are lowering, however not as good for the pockets of the pharmaceutical companies.

The top medication on the list was once again the painkiller Hydrocodone with 131.2 million prescriptions, up three million from 2009. This increase in prescription painkillers is one of the reasons the White House is looking for new ways to reduce abuse and misuse of opioid painkillers.

The remaining drugs in the top 10 were, in order, generic Zocor (cholesterol-reducing statin), Lisinopril (blood pressure drug), generic Synthroid (), generic Norvasc (angina/blood pressure), generic Prilosec (antacid), (antibiotic), Amoxicillin (antibiotic), generic Glucophage (diabetes), and Hydrochlorothiazide (water pill to reduce blood pressure).

Of course when it came to top spending on , the list went back to non-generics, with the top sales spot going to Lipitor with $7.2 billion in sales for 2010. Rounding out the top three were Nexium (selling $6.3 billion) and Plavix (selling $6.1 billion).

The shift to more drugs becoming available as generic is growing as many top selling drugs are coming up for patent relinquishment. 2010 saw Aricept (Alzheimer) and Flomax (prostate) medications go generic. Zocor, the 2nd on the list of most dispensed last year, was a huge seller for Merek before it went generic. Lipitor, the top selling brand-name drug in 2010 is set to go generic later this year, and this will give consumers a drop in cost and the pharmaceutical company will take a hit in profit.

This increase in generic prescriptions has also meant a reduced cost for consumers, employers, and insurers responsible for healthcare costs. Compared to 2009, the average cost of prescription copayments went down 20 cents to $10.73 in 2010.

More information: Report: PDF

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Data revealed under FOI shows benefits of multiple sclerosis drug currently blocked by regulators

August 17, 2017
A drug that is blocked by the EU regulatory system has now been found to improve the quality of life of people with multiple sclerosis (MS), according to a study by Queen Mary University of London (QMUL).

Opioids overused in migraine treatment, regardless of race, study finds

August 17, 2017
African-Americans are more likely to experience debilitating migraine headaches than whites, but a new study probing the issue found no evidence of racial disparities in treatment practices.

Finding better ways to reduce serious drug side effects

August 14, 2017
Many of the medicines we depend on to treat disease—and even to save our lives—pose potentially serious risks along with their benefits. Data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicate that about ...

Ultrasound-triggered liposomes for on-demand, local anesthesia

August 10, 2017
Researchers at Boston Children's Hospital have found a new way to non-invasively relieve pain at local sites in the body; such systems could one day improve pain management by replacing addictive opioids and short-lasting ...

Independent pharmacies and online coupons help patients save money on drugs

August 8, 2017
Uninsured patients or those with limited prescription drug coverage can save significant money by buying their drugs at independent pharmacies instead of big box, grocery or chain drug stores and by using discount coupons, ...

New study generates more accurate estimates of state opioid and heroin fatalities

August 7, 2017
Although opioid and heroin deaths have been rising dramatically in the U.S., the magnitude of the epidemic varies from state to state, as does the relative proportion of opioid vs heroin poisonings. Further complicating the ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.