Generic Drugs and You
Americans are using more prescription drugs to prevent and manage health conditions than ever before, and those drugs are more expensive than ever before. Believe it or not, the amount we spend on drugs increases nearly 20 percent every year and is one of the main reasons the cost of health care is increasing. Fortunately, there are simple things we all can do to help keep health care affordable. When you need a prescription drug, ask your doctor if a generic equivalent is available.
Why Pay More?
- The generic drug is just as effective as the brand-name drug.
- Both medicines have the same active ingredients, the same strength, and the same dosage.
- Generic drug costs less than one-third the price of the brand-name drug.
- On average — $72 is the cost for a brand-name drug, as opposed to $22 for a generic.
The Hidden Cost of Brand-Name Drugs
One reason brand-name drugs are so much more expensive is that drug companies spend more than twice as much on marketing and advertising these drugs as on research and development. In fact, the nine largest pharmaceutical companies spend an average of 27 percent of their revenue on marketing, advertising, and administration, while only 11 percent goes toward research and development.
Answers About Generic Drugs
Using generic drugs may save you money. When your doctor writes a prescription, ask if a generic drug is available that is right for you. Your doctor may be able to substitute a generic drug for a brand medication. If you have questions or concerns about any medication you are currently taking, talk to your doctor or pharmacist. Treatment decisions always rest solely with you and your doctor, but here are answers to some questions you might have about generic drugs.