Excellus BCBS announces 35 new generic medicines
Posted at: 06/12/2012 5:02 AM | Updated at: 06/12/2012 6:14 PM
Dozens of brand-name prescription drugs are now going generic, according to a new report from Excellus BlueCross BlueShield.
The company says it will offer 35 new generic drugs, including versions of Plavix, Singulair, Cymbalta, Seroquel and Lexapro.
More than 529,000 upstate New Yorkers use the 35 brand-name drugs that will become available, and the potential annual savings could total $700 million.
We found a young mother who relies on Plavix to stave off another heart attack. The first heart attack happened four years ago when she was visiting her in laws in Atlanta.
At the time her son and daughter were 10 and six.
"The symptoms were really subtle. I only had tingling in my fingers and in my jaw," Kelly Johnsson said. But she was having a heart attack and she had 98 percent blockage.
12 days ago she went from Plavix to the generic. The drug saves her life. The generic saves her budget.
"I think it's wonderful for a family of four. We've got three of us in our family with chronic conditions so we spend a lot in medicine every month," she said.
Plavix, Singulair and Cymbalta are all on the new list of drugs whose patents expire in the next two years. The less expensive generics will follow.
"Lower cost for the individual who is having to buy the drug. Lower cost for the employers who have to provide a drug benefit and it's a lower cost for tax payers who are paying for drugs and medication through tax supported benefits," Joel Owerbach, V.P., Chief Pharmacy officer at Excellus Blue Cross Blue Shield, said.
Dr. John Condemi works at AAIR or Asthma, Allergy, Immunology of Rochester and prescribes Singulair.
"If they're able to afford it they'll take it. Now they don't have to make a choice between food on the table and food in my mouth. So they now can afford both," Dr. Condemi said.
Kelly Johnsson knows what she'll do with her savings.
"Well it helps pay for the salmon and red wine I'm supposed to be having," she said laughing. "But you know family of four and everything costing so much, especially medical, every little bit helps."
Excellus BCBS said generic drug savings will not necessarily lower premiums for it's customers but the savings can mitigate any planned increases.
You can view the complete report on the new generic drugs by clicking here.