Generics comprise growing percentage of Part D usage

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About 60% of all prescription drugs used by beneficiaries in the Medicare Part D program through the third quarter of 2006 were generics, according to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

Heightened use of generic drugs signals continued growth in brand-alternatives and lower Medicare prescription program costs, CMS said. The agency also noted that the increasing use of generics means Medicare beneficiaries are cutting their own prescription drug costs, and, in turn, are helping create cost savings for the federal government.

Use of low-cost generic medications is one way to avoid reaching the Part D coverage gap, or so-called doughnut hole, CMS has said.