Should You Switch To Generic Drugs When Possible

Quite often, a patient’s insurance formulary what medication is prescribed, but is a generic medication the way to go when there is a choice? Brand-name drugs can be prohibitively expensive for some patients, depending on the insurance plan. In some cases, a generic alternative can be as effective. Medications that have been off patent for a few years may have generic options that can save patients money without compromising quality, strength, or safety.

Why are generic drugs more affordable?

Since the original manufacturer has already performed the studies, generic drug manufacturers do not have to invest in FDA-required clinical trials. Many manufacturers can produce generic drugs using research data from the brand-name pharmaceutical company, increasing market competition and lowering costs for consumers. Generic drugs can cost about 85% less than the brand-name version.

Are generic drugs safe to use?

Generic drugs undergo the same level of rigorous approval process by the Food & Drug Administration to determine if generics provide the same benefits as the brand-name version. The FDA’s Office of Generic Drugs assesses a generic medication for the drug’s safety, delivery system, quality, and effectiveness and addresses any issues and complaints with the medications.

Are generic drug alternatives available for all brand-name drugs?

While the FDA has approved thousands of generic drugs, not all brand-name drugs have a generic drug counterpart. Original drug manufacturers have patents on the formula or have a unique delivery system that can not be replicated.

Are generic drugs right for everyone?

The short answer is no. Some medical conditions like thyroid diseases or diabetes require specific brand name medication for the best control of these chronic conditions. While generic drugs can be substituted for brand-name drugs in many cases, some instances may require the brand-name version. Patients should consult a physician or pharmacist to determine if a generic version is appropriate.

Instances when brand-name drugs may be better

Brand-name versions may be the only available options if the patent is still active and no generic drugs are available. Patients should opt for brand-name drugs when doctors explicitly prescribe a brand-name version and ask pharmacists not to substitute. Brand-name drugs may be the better option when the drugs are classified as narrow therapeutic index drugs. While rare, some patients may react negatively to certain generic drugs. \

Save money with generic drugs

Patients can speak with a doctor or a pharmacist to determine if a generic drug is available and appropriate. Doctors may not initially prescribe a generic version without realizing a patient can’t pay. Patients on a budget should ask if a brand-name alternative is just as effective and more affordable.