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Generic Drugs

FDA-Approved Generic Drugs May be Right for You

Safe. Effective. Affordable.

Now is the right time to start choosing generic drugs. Price doesn’t always guarantee greater quality.

Generic medications are widely accepted by physicians, pharmacists and health plan providers. Already, more than 60 percent of all medications dispensed annually are generic drugs. And the availability of generic drugs is constantly expanding. Soon, many of the best-selling, most widely prescribed brand name drugs will become available as generic medications for common medical conditions, including:

  • Heartburn
  • Depression
  • Allergies
  • High blood pressure

Greater availability of generic alternatives over the next few years may bring the potential of new value for you - quality, safety and effectiveness at substantially lower prices.

Just Ask your Doctor and Pharmacist

When you get a prescription, find out whether a generic drug is available and whether it is appropriate for you. Discuss these questions with your doctor:

  • Is there a generic drug that is appropriate for my condition?
  • What is the potential for any side effects if I change medications?

1. Why do generics cost less than brand-name drugs?

Research and advertising
Drug manufacturers spend large sums of money on research, development, marketing and advertising of brand-name drugs. These costs are built into the price you pay for the drug. Manufacturers of generic equivalents have much lower costs, and they pass the savings on to you.

Brand Name Generic
Research/development -
FDA Approval FDA Approval
Manufacturing Manufacturing
Advertising/Marketing -
Distribution Distribution

2. Are generics and brand-name drugs the same?

Same active ingredients; different package
A generic drug contains the same active ingredients in the same dosage forms and strengths as the brand-name drug. Since they have the same active ingredients, generic drugs can be used by patients of all ages to achieve the same medical effects provided by brand-name drugs.

Manufacturers do add small amounts of inactive ingredients for specific purposes, such as to add flavor and color. As a result, brand-name drugs and their generic equivalents often look different. Because these ingredients are inactive, they usually do not pose any risk for patients. Talk with your doctor and pharmacist.

3. Why should you choose generics?

Cost effective
Consumers who choose generic drugs and fill their prescriptions at retail pharmacies realize annual savings in the billions. By choosing a generic medication, you:

  • often save on your prescription copayment/cost share
  • get the same quality and effectiveness as that of a brand-name drug
  • help keep medical care more affordable for everyone

4. How do you know generics are safe?

FDA approval
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approves both brand-name and generic drugs before they are marketed in the United States. The FDA requires generics to contain the same active ingredients as brand-name drugs. Furthermore, the FDA requires that generics be absorbed and used in the body in the same way as brand-name drugs. These requirements assure that generic drugs are as safe and effective as brand-name drugs.

Generic Drugs are as Safe and Effective as Brand Name Drugs

It’s time to rethink generics
Let’s face it. Many of us grew up with the idea that the word generic means second-rate. Low-quality. And what about generic drugs? Many people still think generic prescription drugs just aren’t as good as brand-name drugs. But the truth is, millions of people today save substantial sums of money by choosing generic drugs. And what’s more, they don’t sacrifice quality. The generic medications they take are just as safe and effective as more expensive brand-name drugs.

It’s all about value
Wise consumers want to get the best value for their money. And value is what’s causing more and more people to choose generic medications. Have you ever been concerned about your prescription costs? Would you like to get the same benefits for less money? Then consider this:

  • Generic medications cost about half as much as brand-name drugs.
  • Generic medications are as safe, effective and high in quality as brand-name drugs.
  • Generic medications are approved by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA), just like brand-name medications.

You have a choice between generic and brand-name drugs.

It’s your choice
Generic medications offer a safe and cost-effective alternative to brand-name drugs. You may want to discuss a generic option with your doctor or pharmacist.



Quick Tip

You can use the Price a Drug feature on the Express Scripts Web site to find out if you can save money by using a generic drug.

Simply sign in to our pharmacy partner -- Express Scripts  Web site.