Utilization of brand-name oral contraceptives dropped from 27% of all OC prescriptions in 2010 to 17% in 2014, but their share of expenditures remained the same, according to an analysis of almost 20,000 OC-prescribing events.

Brand OCs with available generics represented 44% of expenditures for all OCs in both 2010 and 2014, while generics had 56% and 55% of spending in 2010 and 2014 and brand names without generics took 0% and 1%, respectively, Mark Chee and his associates wrote in a report published in JAMA Internal Medicine.

For the whole 4-year period, brand OCs accounted for 24% of all prescriptions and 42% of all expenditures for the 19,944 OC prescribing events included in the analysis of data from the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey.

The average out-of-pocket cost was almost $60 per person per year for generic OCs and just over $117 per person per year for brand-name OCs from 2010 to 2014. “Assuming constant prices, substituting generic [oral contraceptives] for brand when generic options were available would have saved $751 million in out-of-pocket costs during the study years,” the investigators wrote.

The study was funded by a National Institutes of Health grant to Mr. Chee. All of his five associates have received a grant from the Food and Drug Administration to improve prescription of generic drugs.

SOURCE: Chee M. et al. JAMA Intern Med. 2018 Jan 16. doi: 10.1001/jamainternmed.2017.7849.


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