Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Brand name or generic drugs—do you know the difference?

Mayo Clinic Health System Health Note on Consumerism:

Do you know the difference between brand name drugs and generic drugs? If you’ve been buying brand name drugs due to uncertainty over whether the generic equivalent is sufficient, you may be surprised.

There are many myths about generic drugs, mainly that they are significantly different from the brand name drug. If you’re a consumer who sticks to buying brand name drugs because of uncertainty, you’re likely spending more money than needed. Brand name drugs and generic drugs have the same active ingredients and both have to meet the same FDA regulations before being approved and put on the market. For example, generics need to meet the same standards for strength, quality, and purity as brand name drugs. In addition, the generic drug must prove that it provides an identical or almost identical blood level to that of the brand name drug.

Why are generic drugs cheaper?

Generic drugs are cheaper because the companies producing those drugs do not have to spend time and money on research, development, clinical trials, marketing and advertising. Additionally, when two or more drug manufacturers make a drug, the price is 50-95% cheaper than the brand name drug.

Don’t hesitate to ask your doctor or pharmacist if there are any generic alternatives to the brand name drugs you are taking. There may not always be a generic alternative, but it’s worth asking. Whether it’s a drug that’s prescribed once or one you will have to take the rest of your life, taking the generic form will save you money.

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