Industry Trends

With cost becoming a major obstacle in any potential healthcare reform, the role of generic drugs is gaining even greater popularity than before among policymakers as a cost-saving feature in the attempt to overhaul our healthcare system. The tension between the makers of generic drugs and brandname manufacturers notwithstanding, there is a general agreement in government that increased use of generics can substantially reduce overall healthcare costs, especially during the current economic environment.

As the healthcare industry seeks to reduce the cost and improve the quality of care delivery, payment reform has moved to the forefront of the conversation. Among the many factors that are driving this focus on payment reform, 3 trends stand out.

First, the industry is moving away from rewarding activity and toward paying for outcomes, supporting advocates who express the notion that rewarding results is paramount. This is part of a larger shift in healthcare from providing "sick care" to promoting health and wellness.

Generic copay incentive programs, which incentivize users of brand-name medications to choose lower-cost generic medications, have gained popularity among pharmacy plan sponsors. Strategies such as these result in a reduction of overall pharmacy costs and a change in plan member behavior.

The goals of this study were to evaluate the impact of a generic copay incentive program on State Farm plan members and to compare the effect on the generic dispensing rate (GDR) for 1 versus 2 generic copay waivers provided by mail.

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