By Dr. James Partyka
Do you find prescription and Over-the-Counter (OTC) medications are extremely expensive and sometimes just unaffordable even if you have prescription insurance? Is there anything I can do about it? The answer is YES, ask your pharmacist or prescriber if a generic drug is a reasonable alternative for you instead of a brand name.
Generic drugs are one of the most cost saving options available to you in our healthcare system to treat your medical condition. In addition, conducting research online for the price of generic drugs can result in significant cost savings.
Under FDA regulations, once a brand drug patent expires, then a generic manufacturer may apply for FDA approval to manufacture and sell a generic medication once they demonstrate to the regulatory authorities that their medication and formulation is “bioequivalent” to the brand drug. Bioequivalent means the generic drug has no significant difference in the rate and extent of absorption of the active pharmaceutical ingredient as compared to the brand drug; and, consequently, they are considered therapeutically equivalent, comparable in both safety and efficacy. Considering the vast majority of prescription or OTC generic drugs are comparable in safety and efficacy to their brand name bioequivalent counterpart, then it makes good sense to ask your pharmacist or prescriber if a generic drug is available to treat your medical condition. (1, 2)
In recent years, generic drug prices on average have fallen in the United States mostly due to a competitive market, however, you still might be overpaying for these generic medications. Often you pay a fixed copayment through your insurance for your generic and brand medications and therefore you don’t realize these cost savings. However, in some cases the generic drug costs are less than the co-payment and under these circumstances paying “out of pocket” would save you money and even additional savings if you use a health savings account (HSA) to pay for it. (3) So first, you need to ask your pharmacist or pharmacy technician for the lowest price available for your medication. If you decide to pay cash for your medication, consider a generic medication and shop around to get the best price. One convenient way to find the least expensive price is to shop online at websites. GoodRx (goodrx.com ) will provide you with the best options in your area for the least cost and could offer discount coupons for additional savings on your medication.
In summary, it only makes “good cents” to spend your healthcare dollars wisely and shop online for the best prices available for your medications and always choose generic medications over brand names unless told otherwise by your pharmacist.
TAGS: #GenericDrugs #Bioequivalence #CostSavingMedications #TakeCharge