Generic, But Not Inferior

pillsKnow the Facts and Choose Generics

Brand-name drug manufacturers may spend decades and millions of dollars developing drugs, and their investment is protected by a patent. When the patent expires (after 12-15 years), other manufacturers may make a copy of that drug, called a generic.

Just like brand-name drugs, generics are controlled by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Generics have exactly the same active ingredients as the brand-name, and must meet the same high-quality standards for safety, strength, quality, purity, stability and performance.

The big difference is price. On average, the cost of a generic drug is 80-85% lower than the brand-name product. By using generic drugs whenever possible, you can receive the same quality of health care for less money.

That’s why your copay for generic drugs is lower than it is for brand-name drugs. And, if your doctor has approved a generic equivalent, but you choose the brand-name drug, you’ll pay the copay plus the cost difference.

Facts About Generics

  • Lower cost does not mean lower quality. Generic manufacturers can sell generic drugs for substantially less than brand-names because they don’t have the expense of research, development and advertising.
  • Generic drugs work as well as brand-name drugs. Any generic drug modeled after a brand-name drug must prove its bioequivalence; in other words, it must perform the same in the body as the brand-name drug.
  • Generics are available for more than 80% of all prescription medicines. When an exact generic is not available for a certain drug, there may be a generic version of an older drug in the same class of drugs that has equivalent effectiveness.
  • Smart health care consumers ask for generics. Always ask your doctor to prescribe generics or authorize the pharmacist to substitute a generic.
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