Generic Prescriptions: Does Spending Less Mean Less Safe?
Generic Prescriptions could help you save money at the pharmacy. Dr Oz explored whether they are less safe than brand name medications. Dr Oz said that we associate the term “generic” with words like “cheap” and “plain.” What about when we are talking about medications and health. In America, we spend about $275 billion each year on generic drugs.
Dr Oz: Are Generic Medications Safe?
As many as 43% of consumers worry that these generic medications are less safe and could have different side effects. Dr Oz did a quick survey of the audience and found that a majority take some types of generic pills.
One woman said she goes generic for her family of four due to the cost savings. She wondered if she is getting the same treatment as in name brand products.
Dr Oz: Why Are Generics Cheaper?
Lisa Gill from Consumer Reports: Best Buy Drugs spoke with Dr Oz about the differences between brand names and generics. Gill explained that generic drugs are versions of brand name drugs whose patents have expired.
When this happens, she explained, companies rush in at once to make the same drugs, driving price competition and creating consumer savings. Generic manufacturers also save money by limiting their advertising efforts.
According to Gill’s research, generic drugs are regulated by the FDA in the same manner as brand name drugs. But do you believe that they are the same thing?
Dr Oz: Generic Prescriptions Vs Brand Name
Dr Oz showed the molecular structure of a brand name drug side-by-side with a generic drug (remember organic chemistry?). Lisa Gill said that it may seem unbelievable, but the active ingredient in a drug has to be identical in generic versions compared to brand name drugs.
In fact, “many generic drugs are actually manufactured on the same manufacturing equipment as brand name drugs, and in some cases, even by the brand name drug companies themselves,” she said.
This could save you as much as 95% in price. In 2010, the FDA found that Americans saved $158 billion by purchasing generic medications instead of brand names.
Dr Oz: Ask Your Doctor for Generics
Lisa Gill said that doctors tend to think of brand names, which is why prescriptions are written that way. But she said there is no case where a brand name is better than a generic version of the same drug.
Here’s how you can save money on your pharmacy orders. Ask for generics from your doctor or at the pharmacy. Gill said that consistency is important when it comes your medication, due to slight variations. Find what works for you and stick with it.
Dr Oz: Negotiate Pharmacy Price
Finally, negotiate the price with your pharmacist! “There is really a secret economy of discount generic drugs, and it’s all over the country,” Lisa Gill told Dr Oz. You can get deep discounts and rock bottom prices, sometimes not having to use your insurance because of the low prices.
You simply have to ask for the best price on your prescriptions, so be sure to speak up at the pharmacy. Who knew!