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That is the conclusion of an industry-funded study that finds use of generic prescription drugs saved about $193 billion last year alone.

The report from the Generic Pharmaceutical Association finds that using inexpensive generic versions of pricier brand-name prescription drugs now saves the country about $1 billion every other day.

Last year, nearly 80 percent of the 4 billion prescriptions dispensed in this country were generic drugs. Because of their cheaper prices, those drugs accounted for just 27 percent of total U.S. spending on prescription medicines.

The report notes that drugs for heart conditions and central nervous system disorders such as depression and convulsions account for 57 percent of the annual savings.

From wire dispatches and staff reports