Prescription drug prices about to fall as patents expire

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - The cost of brand name prescription drugs can be sky-high, putting a dent in the pockets of many people, especially when there's no generic substitute.

Good news though for consumers, patents for many of the most commonly used drugs are about to expire.

Over the next 14 months, generic versions of some of the priciest brand name prescription drugs will be on the market, cutting prices anywhere from 20 to 80 percent.

"Instead of a couple hundred dollars a month you are going to be looking at $10 or $15 a month," said Nephrologist and Medical Director of Hattiesburg Clinic Dr. Alan Gersh.

Gersh said generic competition for some of the widely used brand name med's will have a profound impact in Mississippi because so many folk's are uninsured.

" I see people that have to decide every day are they going to take their med's or are they going to eat. So, there a lot of people that have to make very difficult decisions on their drugs."

Hattiesburg Pharmacist Kenneth Dykes said, co pay or no co pay, the cost of brand name drugs for his customers is pretty steep.

"Private insurance mostly deals with co pays that range anywhere from, $25 to $50 for brand name or maybe even higher per prescription. Where as, generic will range from $5 to $10 or maybe even $15 dollars a co pay."

Dykes said a flood of generics will hit the market over the next decade. 8 patents have already expired, including levaquin, a commonly used antibiotic. More than 30 are on track to lose their exclusivity by December 2012.

Gersh said, "I think this is going to keep a lot of people healthy and more people alive."

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