The costs of keeping people healthy, or at least alive and out of the hospital, continue to grow. Whether it's another percentage
point of GDP, another out-of-pocket catastrophe for a patient, or simply a rise in monthly health insurance premiums, everyone
gets stuck with the bill.
Surely generic utilization is an important element of any cost-saving scheme, since patients get the same medicine for a fraction
of the price. Developed nations as a whole – defined by IMS Health as the US, Japan, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, UK, Canada
and South Korea – reduced their medicine spending for the first time in 2012, in part due to stronger regulatory rules promoting
generic substitution, according to a recent IMS Health report.
In a separate report published last month, ProPublica authors Charles Ornstein and Tracy Weber wondered why US Medicare is
"wasting hundreds of millions of dollars a year by failing to look into doctors who disproportionately prescribe brand-name
drugs." To find out why generics sometimes aren't being prescribed when they're available, Ornstein and Weber asked the prescribers
themselves. Below is a selection of those responses, published by the authors' permission.
Ben Comer is Pharmaceutical Executive's senior editor. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org