The rising use of generic drugs has led a decrease in out-of-pocket payments, NPR reports, adding that more than three of every four prescriptions fulfilled last year were for generics.
“All 10 of the most prescribed medicines in the U.S. last year were generics, led by the defending champion generic equivalents of Vicodin (hydrocodone plus acetaminophen). There were 131 million prescriptions dispensed for the painkiller last year, up 3 million from 2009, according to data released Tuesday by the IMS Institute for Health Informatics. …In 2010, generic medicines accounted for more than three-quarters of the prescriptions dispensed by retail drugstores and long-term care facilities. The exact figure is 78 percent, a historic high that was up four percentage points from 2009. Generic use has climbed steadily from 63 percent of dispensed prescriptions in 2006.”
Primary care doctors are demanding that they be paid at the same level as specialists, Richard Reece writes on the valuable The Health Care Blog. Believing that primary care is at least as valuable as specialist care, doctors and others explain their views on a web site at www.replacetheRUC.com, spearheaded by Brian Klepper, PhD, a health care analyst, and Paul Fischer, MD, a family physician in Augusta, Georgia, Reece writes.
“It is a revolt of primary care physicians against the AMA and CMS. It is a request for parity with specialists. It is a movement to replace how primary care practitioners are paid,” he writes. “Why the revolt against the AMA and CMS? Because primary care doctors yearn to correct myths about primary care vis-à-vis specialists, and because they believe, by altering how the AMA and CMS pay doctors, health costs can be brought down, and primary care can be re-invigorated. Health systems with a broad primary care base have lower costs. In the U.S., two-thirds of doctors are specialists, and one-third are in primary care, the reverse of most nations, which have 50% or lower costs. … The payment differential has been growing between primary care doctors and specialists, so much so that the typical primary care doctor now makes only 30% of what an orthopedic surgeon makes. On average, primary care incomes are 50% of those of specialists.”