Payers, consumers benefit as patents expire

The generic drug market seems ready to explode, according to reports from IMS Health and the Generic Pharmaceuticals Association. They estimate that the industry will grow by 13 percent in 2006. In 2005, more prescriptions were filled with generic drugs than with brand name products — 56 percent to be exact.

Generic market share is expected to grow as many high-profile brand-name products lose patent protection over the next several years. In 2005, U.S. brand -name pharmaceutical sales reached $229.5 billion. Sales figures for the generic pharmaceutical market reached $22.3 billion.

Who has benefited? In the consumer marketplace, generic drugs have never been stronger. In the face of rising prices for brand name products, payers and consumers have been taking advantage of the increasing availability of generic drugs.

Patents expiring soon, 2006-2009

Source: Caremark 2006 Trends Rx Report

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