It’s about time: There’s a reason you can breathe a little easier about your company’s healthcare plan.
Seven of the world’s 20 best-selling prescription drugs are coming off patent and will have generic alternatives available by September 2012.
That means big cost savings for your company — and employees.
Two of the big-name drugs that’ll soon be available in generic form: Lipitor (retailing for nearly $190 a month) and Plavix (about $215 a month), according to a report by CNN Health.
Generics can cost as much as 80% less than their brand name equivalents. So those with a prescription drug plan could be looking at huge savings.
The initial savings from the switch to generics isn’t expected to be the only benefit to employers and their workers.
Doctors believe the lower costs for the meds will lead to more people adhering to their medication regimens — and that means healthier employees.
By the end of 2012 there will be generic alternatives for top-selling drugs used for blood pressure, asthma, diabetes, depression, high triglycerides, HIV and bipolar disorder.
Dramatic changes will take time
Although the drugs will come off patent soon, prices may not fall of the cliff immediately.
According to The Associated Press, in many cases only one generic version may be allowed for a drug losing patent protection within the first six months of losing its patent.
So chances are prices won’t really start to plummet until multiple generic makers are allowed to start producing their versions of the drugs.
But it’s still a good time to encourage employees to check to see if there’s a generic alternative of their medication available — or about to become available.
Here’s a list (PDF) from Medco Health Solutions of meds set to lose patent protection in the coming years.
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