When you buy jeans, some brands fit differently and one brand may work better for you than another. But that’s not the case with prescription drugs. The generic option works just as well as the brand name. Plus, by picking the generic medicine, you can save money and affect health insurance premiums.
The medical difference
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires generic prescription drugs and their brand-name counterparts to have exactly the same:
- Drug dosage
- Medical effects
- Side effects
- Options for how they are taken
- Safety concerns
So while you may see small changes in the shape, color and packaging of a generic drug, there is no medical difference between the brand-name and generic drugs.
The price difference
Pricing is the real difference between brand-name and generic medications. Often brand names cost 80 percent more than their generic counterparts. Why is this the case?
Companies creating prescription drugs spend time and money researching, developing and marketing the medication. To earn back their investment, they are allowed exclusive privilege to market without competition from generic options. After that, other companies can produce generic options without the development cost, resulting in a lower price.
The savings difference
When you get a prescription, your health insurance pays part of the cost. Lower priced generics mean savings for you and your insurance company, and ultimately affects insurance premiums.
How to find the generic option
There are several ways you can find a generic option for prescription medicine:
- Ask your doctor if new or existing prescriptions have a generic option
- Discuss options with your pharmacist—they can research medication costs and coordinate prescriptions with your doctor
- Use the online BCBSND Drug Formulary to find generic alternatives
Additional convenience and savings
Did you know that the price of your prescription drugs may vary from pharmacy to pharmacy? BCBSND offers mail order prescription services for one-stop shopping. You get the best price available along with the convenience of having it delivered right to your door.
Check to see if there are generic drugs available for your brand-name prescription. Review the BCBSND Drug Formulary.
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