Generic Prescriptions: Facts and Fiction
Mar 30th, 2013
Have you ever purchased an electronic device that comes with a “generic” brand of batteries only to discover that they last about as long as it takes to read this sentence? It doesn’t always happen, but you can’t really be sure about what’s inside that battery. It LOOKS like a battery, the label SAYS it’s a battery, but they perform more like paper weights than batteries.
Well, that kind of experience can cause some hesitation when you go to the pharmacy and are presented with the option of a generic prescription. There are some facts I want you to know so you can make a well informed choice and possibly save some health care dollars. See if you can guess which of the following statements are true or false.
- Generic drugs are evaluated not only for the amount of medicine in each dose, but also availability in the body. TRUE. There is a comprehensive system of evaluation that rates generic drug in terms of content and bio-equivalence to more expensive brands.
- Generic drugs are made by inferior manufacturers under less strict guidelines which is why they are cheaper. FALSE. Sometimes the same manufacturer makes the generic and the brand name of the same drug! Manufacturers must submit their drugs to the evaluation processes mentioned above before they can legally be substituted as equivalent to another drug. Guidelines for manufacturing drugs are no less stringent for any manufacturer, whether generic or brand.
- If an Albertsons pharmacist offers a generic drug in place of a more expensive brand, it must be rated as equivalent in content and bio-availability according to strict legal guidelines. TRUE. Only generic medicines that receive the correct equivalency rating can be legally offered in place of another brand.
- I might get a completely different drug if I allow generic substitution. FALSE. Generic substitution means the identical same drug in the same dosage form with the same availability in the body. If it is in your best interest to suggest a different drug that could achieve similar therapeutic results, your Albertsons pharmacist will always check with you and contact the prescriber for a new prescription in those cases.
- Generic drugs save millions of health care dollars annually. TRUE. Beside common sense, there are many studies that point to this fact.
- I don’t pay much more for brand name prescriptions so there is no reason for me to get generics. FALSE. Someone pays for all health care, usually an employer or possibly a government agency. It’s relevant for all of us to be part of keeping health care costs down.
- I can safely assume all generic medicines are equal to the brand name. FALSE. If offered on a prescription, the law states the product must be rated equivalent. There is no such equivalency system universally in place for non-prescription medicines and supplements. Best to ask your Albertsons Pharmacist!
I hope this helps clear up some misconceptions. I consistently have prescriptions filled with generic medicines for my family, but that’s easy for me, knowing what I know. Now you know too!
**This content is for informational purposes only and is not intended to replace the advice of your primary care physician.