Generic drugs can save you money because they cost less than brand-name prescriptions.
Unlike other types of generic products such as cereal or soup where the brand is often better, generic medications are just as pure, effective and high quality as their brand counterparts.
Generic drugs, by law, must have the same active ingredients than the brand names, and they are plentiful – generic options are available for about half of all prescription drugs currently on the market, a recent Consumer Reports report stated.
According to the Consumer Reports article, “Shopper’s Guide to Prescription Drugs” from 2006, generics are simply copies of the medications that have expired patents. It can take any where from 10 to 14 years for a patent to expire, at which point the brand-name manufacturer loses the right to be the only seller of the drug.
What’s Causing All the Confusion?The confusion between choosing a generic or name brand often is because the name brand stays on the market while the generic is being sold. Seeing the two together, many people tend to choose the name brand because, as is the case with the soup they like to eat, they think the name brand must be better.
Another reason people are not using generics is because they may have been using the brand name for a while and don’t want to switch for fear it won’t work as effectively.
Still another reason generic medications haven’t caught on is because they often look different from the name brands. Again, this goes back to the comfort level of the patient. People like to stick with what they know without considering other options. Pharmaceutical companies have spent millions selling the image of their drugs to people, and, according to this logic, it’s no wonder. Once the idea is planted, it’s hard to uproot and plant another.
Ask Your Doctor About GenericsAccording to Providence Health Plans’ Web site, generic drugs are now available in all major therapeutic drug classes and are usually subject to a lower copayment or coinsurance, and generics offer effective treatment for many of the common conditions treated in routine care and are equivalent to brand-name products in safety, quality and performance.
If you are interested in trying generic medications, you must speak with your doctor. Pharmacists can change a doctor’s order from brand name to generic, but they have to ask you, by law. If you want more information, even after speaking to your doctor, consult your pharmacist. He or she will be able to provide additional insight about whether or not you should choose a name brand or generic.