When it comes to treating your medical needs, a generic drug can be cost-effective alternative to brand name drugs.
Dr. Colleen Fogarty, the Medical Director at Highland Family Medicine and the Associate Chair for Interprofessional Education and Practice, discussed the benefits of generic drugs Thursday during News 8 at Sunrise.
“Generic drugs are a great option for lots of different kinds of medications,” said Dr. Fogarty. “What they are is a medication that’s called bioequivalent to the original brand name, which means it’s the same formulation, the same composition, the same safety and the same efficacy as the brand name equivalent.”
Dr. Fogarty said generic drugs can act as a substitute for a brand name drug. “It can always be substituted, and in fact pharmacists in most states can prescribe the generic to fill a prescription.”
She added, “It’s much cheaper to produce the generic drugs, mainly because the generic companies are no longer – the drug is no longer on patent, so the costs that the company originally had to put into all of the research and development would’ve been recouped over those ten years the patent was on. After that the patent is released and other companies can manufacture.”
The FDA conducts testing on all generic medications to be sure they are bioequivalent. You can always check with your doctor about generic offerings. “If there is a generic, most of the time they’ll be aware of it, otherwise you can ask at the pharmacy,” Dr. Fogarty said. “You can save a lot of money month to month if you use a generic equivalent. Most of the health insurance companies have a lower co-pay for generics, and many of the generics are on the $4 or $10 three month plans at the larger chain pharmacies.”
Dr. Fogarty added, “Unless the prescriber writes ‘do not substitute’ or ‘dispense as written,’ the pharmacist can give you the generic alternative.”
For more information about generic drugs from the FDA go to fda.gov.