NU Online News Service, Sept. 23, 12:06 p.m. – Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Michigan, Detroit, says it believes its efforts to promote consumer awareness and use of generic prescription drugs have helped cut Michigan prescription expenditures by tens of millions of dollars.

Nordhaus Research Inc., Southfield, Mich., surveyed Michigan consumers in July and found that 64% of the respondents said generic drugs had the same effects as brand-name drugs, up from 58% in July 2001.

Michigan Blue claims figures show that the dispensing rate for generic drugs has increased about 1 percentage point since the company began a generic prescription competition for pharmacies and a $1 million newspaper advertising campaign aimed at consumers.

Each percentage point increase in the generic dispensing rate represents $17 million in annual savings for Blues customers and $60 million in annual savings for all Michigan consumers, Michigan Blue says.