Medication Choices

Reducing Pharmacy Spend

Brand-name drugs have a significant impact on overall pharmacy spending. In 2020, the Association for Accessible Medications reported that while brand-name drugs were only 10% of prescriptions filled, they accounted for 80% of prescription drug spend. *

When a brand-name drug becomes generic, a conversion takes place automatically at the pharmacy. But what about patients taking a brand-name drug without a generic equivalent available?

Patients have improved adherence when their medications are affordable. To support your patients, you may consider prescribing a lower-cost alternative such as a generic or brand-name drug within the same therapeutic drug class. While this requires a new prescription, it allows your patient to access a medication that is as safe and effective at a lower cost, which may reduce their out-of-pocket expense.

The list below provides examples of the most frequently prescribed brand-name drugs with lower-cost alternatives.

 = generic, Tier 1 or Tier 0;  = Preferred BRAND, Tier 2;  = Non-Preferred BRAND, Tier 3 or excluded

Drug Class High Cost Drugs Lower Cost Drug** Estimated Cost Savings***
[based on claims data]
ADHD VYVANSE (lisdexamfetamine) ADDERALL XR (dextroamphet/amphetamine)‡ ~36%
Asthma DULERA (mometasone/formoterol) ADVAIR DISKUS (fluticasone/salmeterol)‡ <1%
SYMBICORT (budesonide/formoterol) <1%
BREO ELLIPTA (fluticasone/vilanterol) <1%
ASMANEX HFA (mometasone) QVAR REDIHALER (beclomethasone) <1%
ARNUITY ELLIPTA (fluticasone) <1%
Birth Control LO LOESTRIN FE (norethindrone/ethinyl estradiol)‡‡ generic LOESTRIN 24 FE “JUNEL 24 FE” (norethindrone/ethinyl estradiol) ~68%
generic LOESTRIN 1/20 “JUNEL 1/20” (norethindrone/ethinyl estradiol) ~90%
Diabetes (Insulin) TRESIBA (insulin degludec) BASAGLAR (insulin glargine) ~44%
LEVEMIR (insulin determir) ~35%
NOVOLOG (insulin aspart) NOVOLIN-R (insulin regular) ~63%
FIASP (insulin aspart)
Diabetes (Non-Insulin) FORTAMET (metformin ER OSM) generic GLUCOPHAGE (metformin) >99%
GLUMETZA (metformin ER OSM) generic GLUCOPHAGE XR (metformin ER)
N/A generic GLUCOTROL (glipizide) N/A
N/A generic ACTOS (pioglitazone) N/A
JANUVIA (sitagliptin) generic NESINA (alogliptin)‡‡ ~62%
INVOKANA (canagliflozin) FARXIGA (dapagliflozin) ~5%
JARDIANCE (empagliflozin) ~2%
VICTOZA (liraglutide) TRULICITY (dulaglutide) ~3-6%
BYDUREON (exenatide) OZEMPIC (semaglutide) ~3-6%
Mood TRINTELLIX (vortioxetine) generic LEXAPRO (escitalopram) >99%
generic PROZAC (fluoxetine) >99%
generic ZOLOFT (sertraline) >99%
LATUDA (lurasidone) generic LAMICTAL IR (lamotrigine) >99%
REXULTI (brexpiprazole) generic SEROQUEL IR (quetiapine) >99%
generic ZYPREXA (olanzapine) >99%

*Source: Association for Accessible Medicines (aam) 2020 Generic Drug & Biosimilars Access & Savings in the U.S. Report
** Switching from a BRAND to generic will also reduce the patient’s medication copay
*** Estimated % cost savings based on CareFirst claims data of bolded reference product Jan-Mar 2022
Disclaimer: Provided in support of drug cost transparency and informational purposes only; not a request for therapeutic interchange
‡ BRAND products available at a Tier 1 copay
‡‡ Available on Exchange Formulary only; may require Prior Authorization with Commercial Formulary
Updated: July 2022, subject to change