Bill to incentivize generic use in Medicaid introduced in Congress

WASHINGTON — A bill proposed in Congress would give states incentives for using generic drugs through the Medicaid program.

The Affordable Medicines Utilization Act, proposed by Rep. Charles Bass, R-N.H., is similar to a bill with the same title introduced in the Senate in July that would encourage states to increase generic drug use by Medicaid patients by letting the states keep part of the difference the federal government receives between the cost of the generic drug and the cost of the branded drug. That bill remains in the early stages of the legislative process, according to GovTrack, a website that tracks the development of legislation.

The National Association of Chain Drug Stores heralded the legislation.

"The majority of Medicaid prescriptions — 70% — are filled by chain pharmacies," the organization wrote in a letter to Rep. Bass. "Local pharmacies across the country work with state Medicaid programs to promote best practices, and help to implement policies that promote the use of generic medications. Increasing generic utilization is the most effective way to control prescription drug costs."

The legislation also drew praise from the Generic Pharmaceutical Association.

"This legislation is exactly the kind of common-sense solution those in Washington should look to when searching for ways to rein in our country's health care spending,” GPhA president and CEO Ralph Neas said. "Greater use of generic medications is a safe and effective way to reduce costs while providing patients with the quality care they need."


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