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Generic vs. brand name drugs: Which is right for you?

When it comes to generic drugs, cheaper is just as good. That's because generic drugs have the same active ingredients as their brand name counterparts but they can sell for less, sometimes substantially less.

Choosing generics can be a key to helping hold down the cost of prescription drugs, whether you are paying out of pocket for the drugs or have insurance that covers some or all of the cost. In some Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans, the copayment/coinsurance cost for generic drugs is lower than the payment for brand name drugs.

Despite their lower cost, generic drugs are as safe and effective as brand name drugs because they have to meet the same U.S. Food and Drug Administration standards.

Approximately half of the brand name drugs prescribed in the United States today have generic equivalents, including:

  • Escitalopram, the generic form of Lexapro, treatment for depression
  • Clopidogrel, the generic form of Plavix, which prevent blood clots
  • Quetiapine, the generic form of Seroquel, which treats mood disorders
  • Montelukast, the generic form of Singulair, treatment for asthma.

Talk to your doctor or pharmacist to find out whether a generic drug is right for you. For more information on generic drugs, visit