Senators aim to boost Medicaid's use of generics

As President Obama's proposal to resurrect old drug rebates draws fire from PhRMA--and lots of attention in the media--a bipartisan group of senators has introduced a bill that would boost Medicaid's use of generic drugs. The Affordable Medicines Utilization Act would allow states to keep a share of the money saved by using copycat drugs rather than brand-name meds, Pharmalot reports.

The bill's sponsors point to an American Enterprise Institute study that concluded Medicaid could have saved $329 million if recipients used generic copies of 20 commonly used drugs, rather than branded versions. The study predicted the opportunity for savings could grow as megablockbusters like Lipitor go off patent. Medicaid could save as much as $433 million simply by substituting generics for branded meds, the AEI study found.

"Increasing choice and competition in the healthcare system is one of the best ways to drive down costs," Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) said in a statement announcing the legislation. The bill is co-sponsored by Sens. John McCain (R-AZ) and Scott Brown (R-MA).

- see the release from Sen. Wyden
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