Generic RX Drugs on the Rise in Rochester

It's one of the toughest decisions many people are making these days.

"It's a decision between 'am I going to be able to afford my groceries, and am I going to be able to pay my rent, and am I going to be able to pay my medication - and sometimes it's that I'm not going to take my medication because I'm going to feed my family," said Dr. Lisa Hauk of Wilson Health Center.

Here in Rochester and across New York, more doctors are trying to ebb the problem for patients by prescribing generics.

According to a new report from Excellus Blue Cross Blue Shield, Upstate doctors who already prescribe generics have increased their prescription for patients - from nearly 30% to more than 50%.

"This is phenomenal news," said Joel Owerbach of Excellus BCBS.  "This means the vast majority of physicians are prescribing most of the time generically, and that patients most of the time are using generic drugs at record levels."

The good news is this comes at a time when a lot of drugs have gone generic this year, many of them mental health drugs, which can be very expensive. On the bad side, many of the name brand drugs that are still out there have gone up in cost by up to 80%.

"Just in the last year, looking at the second quarter of 2008 to the second quarter of 2007, that increase was almost 16%," said Owerbach.

"There are a lot of costs associated with the research and development, so those medications that are brand-name," said Hauk.  "The cost needs to be recouped."

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