Generics firms argue rebates

Increasing the use of generic drugs in government programs to the levels that exist in nongovernment markets represents "bigger money" than the government would save by hiking the rebates paid by generics makers, says an industry executive.

William Marth, North American chief executive at Teva, says that for each 1 percent increase in generic use, Medicaid would realize $315 million in annual savings. Rebates, by contrast, would yield an estimated $46 million annual savings, Reuters reports.

Some 70 percent of U.S. prescriptions are filled with generics, Marth says. The Medicaid rate is 64 percent.

Marsh's comments follow Wednesday's unveiling of the U.S. Senate version of healthcare reform legislation, as reported earlier, which includes the rebate hikes.

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