Generic drugs are safe and produce the same results as their brand-name counterparts; however, generic drugs can have an additional benefit: a much lower price tag. Patients typically pay less than half the price for a generic drug; some generic medications are free.
“Patients should feel confident most generic drugs provide the same results as their brand-name counterparts,” said Timothy Meneely, DO, medical director of primary care services, Carle. “Doctors do not mind being asked to prescribe a generic alternative to a brand-name product. In fact, most prescriptions at Carle are written to allow for the substation of a generic drug.”
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approves generic drugs the same way it approves all drugs. Manufacturers of generic drugs must show their drug is as safe and produces the same results as its brand-name counterparts. Many times, both versions are manufactured by the same pharmaceutical company; they just have different labels.
“Generic drugs can save consumers a lot of money,” said Robert Parker, MD, chief medical officer, Health Alliance. “Making the switch helps control both immediate and future out-of-pocket medical expenses. The savings will not only be realized at the pharmacy, but will create savings for health insurers – who can pass those savings to consumers via lower health premiums.”
The top-selling pharmaceutical in the United States last year was the cholesterol-lowering drug Lipitor. Before Lipitor went generic, a one-month supply retailed for $130-$160. The cost for most Health Alliance members was a copayment of at least $50 per month. However, on average, Health Alliance members can pick up the same supply of the generic, atorvastatin, for $10.
to learn about generic drugs, find free generics, compare drug costs, and receive guidance on how to talk with your doctor about switching to generic drugs. For information about drug costs and coverage, please consult your health plan.