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Medicine and Public Policy |

Prescription Prices Under the New York Generic Substitution Law

IGOR FRANCETIĆ, M.D.; LOUIS LASAGNA, M.D.; MICHAEL WEINTRAUB, M.D.; and FRED E. KARCH, M.D.
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Presented in part at the 18th Annual Meeting of the American Society for Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics, 21-23 March 1979, in Kansas City, Missouri.

▸Requests for reprints should be addressed to Michael Weintraub, M.D.; Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, University of Rochester Medical Center; Rochester, NY 14642.


Rochester, New York


© 1980 American College of PhysiciansAmerican College of Physicians


Ann Intern Med. 1980;92(3):419-423. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-92-3-419
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We evaluated the New York State generic substitution law. This law mandates substitution of a less expensive product if the physician signs the prescription for an eligible brand name drug on the line marked "substitution permissible." We purchased drugs by brand name and generically before the law went into effect. Later, we purchased the same drugs in the same stores using the formats "brand-dispense-as-written," "brand-substitution-permissible," and "generic." Mean savings from generic prescribing or substitution increased from 12.1% ± 20.4% before the law to 26.2% ± 10.5% (brand-substitution-permissible) and 27.2% ± 14.2% (generic). Prices for the same drug written the same way varied enormously among pharmacies. Brand-dispense-aswritten, brand-substitution-permissible, and generic prices in the same store varied substantially and unpredictably. Savings were not passed on to consumers in 29% of postlaw comparisons. Assuring maximal savings requires extensive comparison shopping.

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