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Switching to Generic Drugs

According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), switching to generic drugs provides a 50 to 70 percent savings over their name brand equivalents. Also, there are generic equivalents for roughly 75 percent of the drugs listed with the FDA.

Brand-name Drugs vs. Generic Equivalents

  • Chemically, brand-name drugs and their generic equivalents are essentially the same.
  • They may differ in name, color, and shape.
  • Generic drugs are required by the FDA to have the same active ingredients, dosage amounts and method of administration as non-generic drugs.
  • There may be some differences between the inactive ingredients of generic and brand name drugs, which may in certain cases cause an allergic reaction.
  • Generic drugs also may have a statistically insignificant difference in how your body may absorb such a drug, but not enough to change the drugs effectiveness.

Deciding to Switch to Generic Drugs

  • Consult with your doctor to see if using generic drugs is right for you.
  • If your current medicine does not have a generic equivalent, you also can ask your physician to suggest another medicine that does.
  • For more detailed information on generic equivalents and getting the biggest bang for your prescription buck, take a look at the free prescription medicine guidance offered by Consumer Reports.

Discounts on Generic Drugs

Most large pharmacies provide discounts on generic drugs with prices as low as $4 per month or $10 for a three month supply. Check with the pharmacies in your area to see what discounts they provide. Some of the most popular national pharmacies that have such programs include: