US Pharm.2008;33(12):38.

GPhA Congratulates President-Elect Obama
In congratulating Senator Obama on his election win, Kathleen Jaeger, president and CEO of the Generic Pharmaceutical Association (GPhA), said that Obama and the new Congress "must now tackle the serious challenges facing our economy, including rising health care costs" by increasing access to "affordable generic and biogeneric medicines." At GPhA's Annual Policy Conference held earlier this year, Senator Obama's health policy advisor said that President-elect Obama supports increased funding "to ensure a strong FDA," and would address important issues facing the generic industry including "citizen petitions, state carve-outs, Free Trade Agreements, and authorized generics as part of his health care agenda."

Teva to Sell Generics in Japan
Teva Pharmaceutical Industries will start selling generic drugs in Japan as part of a joint venture with Japanese drug firm Kowa Co. According to Reuters, Japan is attempting to raise the market share of generic drugs in the Japanese drug market to 30% by 2012 as its population ages and health care costs increase. The use rate of generics in Japan is currently about 17% compared to approximately 60% in the U.S., Britain, and Germany. To help boost generic share in Japan, the Japanese government is offering incentives for pharmacies to sell generics and has made generics the default option when filling prescriptions.

Generic Use Highest During Coverage Gap
A survey conducted by Medco Health Solutions showed that seniors enrolled in Medicare Part D would initially rather take a brand-name product than a generic, until they reach the coverage gap, also known as the "donut hole," the time during which they are no longer covered by the program; at that point they switch to an available generic of the same drug. The study revealed that during the initial phase of the Medicare benefit, when the plan provides drug coverage, two-thirds of the medications used by beneficiaries are branded products and only one-third are generic drugs. Once beneficiaries reach the coverage gap and are responsible for the full cost of the drugs, the ratios of usage are reversed. The use of generics rises to 71% and brand-name drug use falls to 29%.

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