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Generic medicines: 70% of dispensed medicines and critical to healthcare


10 Apr 2024


Health & Consumers

Brussels, 10 April 2024

For the last three decades, the availability of cost-effective generic medicines has driven increased access to life-saving treatments for millions of patients in Europe. Today, these medicines are an integral part of the healthcare system.

While the increased use has led to unprecedented savings for healthcare systems, the focus of policy is on their cost saving potential, underplaying the true value of generic medicines to society. This neglect of their full contribution can exacerbate the challenges that healthcare systems are facing today.

The newly published study “Beneath the Surface: Unravelling the True Value of Generic Medicines explores the contribution of generic medicines to European health systems, through an examination of their critical role in increasing access, financial sustainability, supply chain resilience and better outcomes for patients.

To gain insight into the importance of these medicines, the study highlights key data such as:

  • Generic medicines account for 70% of treatment volume and 9/10 medicines on Europe’s critical medicines list.
  • Spending in the top 3 therapeutic areas has decreased from 37% to 8% since 2000 thanks to generic medicines and the future opportunities for small molecules facing Loss of Exclusivity (LoE) by 2027 is forecast at nearly €10 billion.
  • Generic industry investments in supply chain resilience and manufacturing are critical to reducing medicine shortages and should be factored into pricing and procurement policies.
  • Future investments in value added medicines innovation is needed to tackle major healthcare challenges related to unmet need, improving adherence and reducing pressure on hospitals and human resources.


Speaking at the launch of the IQVIA ‘Beneath the Surface’ report, the Chair of Medicines for Europe’s Generic medicines Market Access Committee, Arnaud Maheas, said: “European healthcare systems rely on generic medicines to deliver public health   Generic medicines policies should look beyond cost-savings to empower our industry  to deliver the long-term and largely unappreciated benefits described in the IQVIA report. Ongoing downward pressure on prices, as in Germany where generic medicines cover 80% of volume at just 7% of the cost*, is a direct cause of industry-wide supply chain challenges. EU authorities and national governments need to incorporate security of supply for public health alongside savings when designing generic medicine policies.

* Source: ProGenerika  

 Medicines for Europe

Medicines for Europe represents the generic, biosimilar and value-added medicines industries across Europe. Its vision is to provide sustainable access to high quality medicines, based on 5 important pillars: patients, quality, value, sustainability and partnership. Its members directly employ 190,000 people at over 400 manufacturing and 126 R&D sites in Europe and invest up to 17% of their turnover in R&D investment. Medicines for Europe member companies across Europe are both increasing access to medicines and driving improved health outcomes. They play a key role in creating sustainable European healthcare systems by continuing to provide high quality, effective generic medicines, whilst also innovating to create new biosimilar medicines and bringing to market value added medicines, which deliver better health outcomes, greater efficiency and/or improved safety in the hospital setting for patients. For more information please follow us at and on Twitter @medicinesforEU.