Employers could see savings with launch of generic Crestor

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The brand name cholesterol drug Crestor will see its patents start to expire this summer. This will result in one of the largest generic drug launches of all time and could mean significant savings for employers, especially those whose plans have generic drug substitution enabled.

Generic Crestor now stocked at some pharmacies

Crestor will have its earliest patent expire on July 2, 2012, and the last one on August 4, 2020. Rosuvastatin (generic Crestor) has been approved for sale by Health Canada, and has already been stocked by some pharmacies as of April 2012 – prior to the official Crestor expiry.

Savings potential for employers

Crestor is a widely-used drug, and has a high impact on drug plans. In 2011, Crestor accounted for 4.2% of drug cost paid in TELUS’ book of business*. This generic launch means that those employers who have enabled generic drug substitution – either simple or mandatory – on their plans, could see substantial savings. 

Generic substitution

Generic drug substitution is a widespread cost-saving measure on drug plans. It means that, when a doctor prescribes a drug, the pharmacist dispenses the lowest-priced equivalent (usually the generic) version of that drug, if one is available. Generic drugs use the same active ingredients as brand-name products, but usually cost significantly less.

Timing

TELUS confirmed that while Apotex and other manufacturers were able to bring the generic Crestor to market earlier than the July 2, 2012 patent expiry, it is currently only interchangeable in British Columbia, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island. This means that, effective immediately, employees in those provinces with prescriptions for Crestor who have generic drug substitution enabled in their drug plans, will start receiving the generic version of the drug, if their pharmacy stocks it. We expect other provinces will follow shortly.

*Source: TELUS, 2011

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