You may have used generic drugs many times throughout your life, but they can often be misunderstood and even overlooked. The field of pharmaceuticals in America is wide and complex.
There are many different factors that go into the medicines that we use on a daily basis. Because of this complexity, doctors and pharmacists often prescribe drugs without all of the pricing information that might be helpful. In these instances, American consumers may not be as educated about their medicines as they should be.
Whether you use generic medicine or the name-brand drugs that are advertised on TV, getting the right medicines for your needs can be an expensive process. Health insurance options can cover a lot, but you will almost always have to pay for certain percentages of your medicines out-of-pocket. Luckily, there are certain prescription drugs that you can save money on, in order to get the most out of your medical budget. This article will discuss these different kinds of generic prescription drugs, and inform you of the best financial options that will not jeopardize your health.
When considering whether branded medicine or its generic version is the best choice for your medical needs, it is always a good idea to understand the difference between the two varieties. These branded pharmaceuticals are easy to spot at your local pharmacy because of the marketing that goes into selling them. Medicine brands with big, recognizable names are everywhere, and they are often mentioned on TV, on the radio, in the newspaper and on billboards across the country. They usually advertise their drugs to be more effective than other brands, which can often lead to them justifying a higher price tag.
On the other hand, generic prescriptions are much less up-front with their marketing strategies. At the pharmacy, you may find a prescription drug that does not have the brand or financial backing of a wealthy company, and does not have a recognizable name. However, this does not necessarily mean that it is a less effective drug. In fact, there are strict rules and regulations that go into the pharmaceutical industry, which make sure that all legal drugs meet the proper standards. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) makes these determinations and sets testing, and it is the organization that approves branded and generic medicines to be prescribed and sold in America.
For the FDA to answer, “What is generic medicine?” they must put potential prescription drugs through a series of chemical and clinical tests. To be approved for public use, these drugs must:
This last point is potentially the most limiting for generic versions of medications, as they oftentimes cannot be made for newly-invented drugs that have been trademarked. Only after a branded drug’s trademark has expired can a generic version of that drug hit the market, unless a successful lawsuit has been filed to dispute the drug patent. This allows for certain types of medications to start off with limited options, but expand in variety and availability over time.
While the difference between generic and name brand drugs is not very big in terms of their actual chemistry, they have many actual differences to consumers. Perhaps the biggest of these differences comes in terms of their retail price. While medicine brands usually charge more for their products due to lab development, advertising costs and wanting to make more of a profit, generic brands do not have the same overhead costs. This can allow for generic brands to cost less money for consumers, which opens up that medicine’s availability to a much wider audience.
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Additionally, some consumers simply prefer one brand of drug over another. While most branded medications do not have any actual differences from their generic versions, there is often a certain placebo effect which convinces consumers that the branded version is more effective. Whether or not you feel this often-invisible preference, it is important to always do your research when shopping for prescriptions. While you may be more inclined to go with a brand that you have heard of through advertisements, your wallet might push you more towards an equivalent generic medicine. However, it is incredibly important to research a drug carefully before purchasing it, so that you can know the potential impact that it may have on your body.
A comprehensive list of generic drugs is nearly impossible to make, thanks to the ever-changing pharmaceutical field and dozens of drugs that can be available for a certain condition at any given time. However, there are certain types of medications that are often suited for generic equivalents that can save lots of money for Americans in need. Some medications which are usually best purchased generic include:
Finding the right brands for your needs can be tough, especially for medications that have numerous different generic and branded options. However, shopping around and visiting multiple pharmacies in your area is usually the best choice when it comes to finding the best deals.
It may come as no surprise that buying generic medicine is generally cheaper than shelling out for the more expensive brands, but there are also ways that you can cut your medicine spending even more. Besides getting a better health insurance policy, which may cover a larger portion of your health costs, you may be interested to learn about the many different prescription discounts that exist today. Certain companies like WellRx, GoodRx and more specialize in providing pharmacy discounts to whoever signs up for their free discount cards.
These pharmacy savings programs do not apply to every drug and are not accepted by all pharmacies. However, they can be useful in bringing the costs of certain generic and branded prescriptions to less than half of their original costs. Many Americans wonder, “Are generic drugs less effective?” without truly understanding that they often have no chemical difference from their branded counterparts. By doing your research on the best medicines that are right for your health and budget, you can make smarter decisions at the pharmacy in the future.
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