Austin peaked my interest with his post on Deloitte’s analysis, The Hidden Costs of U.S. Health Care for Consumers. So I went and read it. Towards the end, there was one page that really jumped out at me.
A survey of 1,008 U.S. adults asked people, “Would you consider doing any of the following if it would save money for health care?” Here’s what they said:
Health Savings Accounts, in the middle there, get a lot of press. So does destination medicine, down there at the bottom. Do you know what gets relatively little attention? Using generic drugs. I hear from lots of physicians who say that patients demand name brand drugs, but those are anecdotal reports. This tells a different story.
Look at that chart again. 80% of people say they would use generics to save money! Not only that, but look at this, which I made from the accompanying Deloitte table:
Are there any groups at all that don’t overwhelmingly support the use of generic drugs to save money?
With this kind of support, I don’t know why we aren’t trying harder to push for formulary reform in Medicare and Medicaid. I also don’t know why private insurance companies aren’t doing the same. This would actually, not just theoretically, save money; it would also do so immediately.