by Jinghong Chen

For medications with both brand-name and generic versions, an overwhelming majority of Medicare Part D plans encouraged the use of generics over their brand-name equivalents in 2019, according to a study published in Health Affairs. By analyzing Part D formulary coverage and tier placement of matched brand-name drugs and generics, the researchers found that 84% of Part D plan-product combinations covered the generic only in 2019, while 15% covered both brand-name and generic versions. In 2019, of the 1,361 drug products analyzed, there were 98% of products for which generics were placed on a lower cost-sharing tier than their brand-name counterparts in at least one plan in 2019.

NOTE: The study was funded by a grant from Arnold Ventures.

SOURCE: “Medicare Part D Plans Rarely Cover Brand-Name Drugs When Generics Are Available,” Health Affairs 39, NO. 8 (2020): 1326–1333. Visit