The Generic Pharmaceutical Association says that savings from the use of generic prescription drugs has risen to the rate of nearly $1 billion every two days, totaling $193 billion in 2011 and more than $1 trillion in the last decade.

The GPhA commissioned the IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics, a division of IMS Health, for an independently conducted study, which showed generic savings for consumers and the U.S. health care system grew 22% from 2010 to last year, the largest single-year jump since 1998.

“The remarkable findings demonstrated in this report are a testament not only to the generic industry’s tremendous accomplishments over the past decade, but to the even greater achievements that are still to come,” says Ralph G. Neas, president and CEO of the GPhA. “The Generic Drug Savings study shows conclusively that, as Congress and the White House gear up for the fiscal challenges facing them in the coming year, generic and biosimilar utilization are the best places to go for the ‘offsets’ that everyone will be desperately seeking.

“The sustainability of the health care system and the national economy depend in significant measure on the availability of affordable medicines.”

The GPhA believes that, since the implementation of the Hatch-Waxman Act in 1984, a proper balance has been struck between innovation of new medicines and accessibility of lower-cost alternatives, a win-win for providers and consumers. Savings from new generics, according to the study, continue to increase exponentially, totaling $481 billion in the last 10 years.

The majority of the savings, 57%, comes from generic nervous system and cardiovascular drugs.

In total, 2011 saw some 4 billion prescriptions written in the U.S., the GPhA says. Nearly 80% of those were for generics, which constituted only 27% of the total drug spending.

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