Today's Coming Crisis Movie

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Popular medications are going on the cheap: But is this actually a good thing in an overmedicated world?

In the next 14 months, seven of the world's 20 best-selling drugs will be available in generic form, dramatically slashing the cost for patients but also decimating sales for the drug companies that created them. CBS News correspondent Ben Tracy explains what they are and what this means.

Marvelene Bickerstaff takes 9 medications every day -- and it's not cheap.

It costs her "at least $200 per month," she said. "And that's why I still work, because I am 74 years old now."

Her diabetes drug, Byettta, costs $75 a month, so she begs her doctor for samples to cut costs.

"Maybe four to five months out of the year I can get a sample," she added.

Over the next decade, patents on dozens of brand name drugs are expiring. That clears the way for generic versions which work just as well and cost much less.

So what are the two biggest drugs to go generic? Cholosterol drug Lipitor in November and blood thinner Plavix in May 2012. About 4.3 million Americans take Lipitor, while 1.4 million are on Plavix. (more)