Savings from generic medicines use

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The Sustaining Generic Medicines Markets in Europe report (April 2006), produced by the Research Centre for Pharmaceutical Care and Pharmaco-economics and authored by Professor Steven Simoens and Mr Sandra De Coster, offers a country-by-country analysis of generics markets in Europe and discusses factors both hindering and aiding the development of generics markets.


The last section of the report offers a data-driven illustrative example of how generic substitution can result in significant cost savings in countries. It does this by presenting data from 2004 for several EU countries discussed in the report. The data lists the top 10 drugs (8 in the case of Poland) by public expenditure, including the savings that could be had were generics substituted for these brand-name drugs. The analysis assumes a 95% generic substitution rate.

Results are compelling and point to a 21% savings in Poland to 48% in Denmark. The table shows, of the countries surveyed, the brand-name drug with the highest public expenditure in each country and the amount of savings that could be made were a generic substituted for that drug in that country.

Table: Potential savings in EU countries from generic substitution for top drug

Country Brand-name drug with top public expenditure Public expenditure in Euros Potential savings from generic substitution
Austria Lisinopril 33,545,548 7,973,247
Belgium Pravastatin 67,863,755 45,053,083
Denmark Metoprolol 19,289,107 4,833,861
France Omeprazole 446,515,016 117,723,086
Germany Hydrochlorothiazide 743,868,532 481,855,404
Italy Ceftriaxone 125,640,866 45,480,174
The Netherlands Pravastatin 67,314,038 29,605,918
Poland Simvastatin 10,088,853 623,500
Portugal Ethinylestradiol 47,817,774 40,705,211
Spain Paroxetine 132,429,541 29,471,752
United Kingdom Pravastatin 173,926,201 1,827,321

Table adapted from the Sustaining Generic Medicines Markets in Europe report (April 2006).

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Simoens S, De Coster S. Sustaining Generic Medicines Markets in Europe. April 2006.

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