Boston, MA, November 26, 2007. Community Catalyst and the Alosa Foundation are proud to announce a new program, Generics Are Powerful Medicine (GPM). Aiming to educate consumers about the safety, value and effectiveness of generic drugs, GPM will award up to 20 sub-grants of $10,000-$20,000 to eligible nonprofit organizations who are able to demonstrate both a commitment to consumer education and the ability to reach underserved and under-insured populations.
With support of faculty from Harvard Medical School and the Brigham and Women’s Hospital, GPM will create high-quality consumer education materials which sub-grantees will use to educate their networks and consumer populations. For details regarding eligibility requirements and selection criteria, please view the Request for Proposals which can be found on the Generics are Powerful Medicine website, www.genericsarepowerful.org.
Funding for GPM was obtained through the settlement of two lawsuits which alleged that drug-makers conspired to keep more affordable generic alternatives off the market. Generics are often priced at 70-80 percent less than their brand-name drugs counterparts. Generic drugs contain the same medication (active ingredient) as brand-name drugs, but generics usually only become available after the brand-name drug’s patent has expired.
Over the next five years, numerous patents on expensive blockbuster brand name drugs will expire, making less costly generic medicines available to millions of consumers. Yet, studies show that many Americans opt for more expensive, brand-name drugs, rather than switching to equally effective, FDA-approved, lower-cost generics as they become available. The GPM program seeks to work with organizations to counteract this trend by addressing the following concerns:
1) Consumers are often simply not aware that generic versions of brand-name drugs are available. In stark contrast to the $5 billion spent advertising brand-name drugs to consumers, it is not feasible for generic drug manufacturers to advertise.
2) Brand-name drug companies work hard to convince doctors to prescribe a brand-name drug even when a less expensive and equally effective generic is known to be available.
3) Many consumers incorrectly believe that generic drugs are not as effective as their brand-name counterparts, an impression often fostered by the brand name manufacturers.
Hard-to-afford drugs make it difficult for patients to stay on the regimens their doctors prescribe. Consumers, and the health care system generally, could save billions of dollars more every year by increasing use of generic drugs. Increasing appropriate use of generics is an important strategy to reduce the burden of medical costs to consumers. The Generics are Powerful Medicine (GPM) campaign seeks to increase generic drug usage by providing consumers the truth about generic drugs.
About Community Catalyst
Community Catalyst is a national non-profit advocacy organization dedicated to quality affordable health care for all. Since 1997, Community Catalyst has been working to build the consumer and community leadership required to transform the American health system. With the belief that this transformation will happen when consumers are fully engaged and have an organized voice, Community Catalyst works in partnership with national, state and local consumer organizations, policymakers, and foundations, providing leadership and support to change the health care system so it serves everyone—especially vulnerable members of society. For more information, visit www.communitycatalyst.org.