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Generic Vs. Brand Name Medications
Are generic drugs as effective as brand name medications? "Yes," says Cathy Salinas, RPh, Director of Pharmacy for Kelsey-Seybold Clinic. "While generic drugs may cost less than brand name equivalents, they shouldn’t be considered as a second-best choice. Chemically, they're just as safe and effective as better known, more expensive counterparts."
Generic drugs are approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and must meet the same standards of quality as the commercially advertised brands.
"Generic versions may have a different size, color, or shape, but that doesn't affect quality," Salinas says. "Generics are the 'bioequivalent' of brand name drugs, meaning they deliver the same amount of active ingredients within the same timeframe."
Brand name drugs are more expensive because pharmaceutical companies spend large sums of money researching, testing, and developing new drug therapies to address a variety of medical conditions. These new drugs are produced under patent protection. Once the protection expires, a generic version can be made available.
“Though generic equivalents are not obtainable for all prescriptions, many are available for use as antibiotics and antidepressants and for controlling high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and many other medical conditions," she explains.
Generic drugs require a doctor's prescription and presently account for more than half of all prescriptions filled in the United States.
"I suggest discussing the cost-effectiveness derived from using FDA-approved generic drugs with your doctor," Cathy advises. "At Kelsey-Seybold, our pharmacists and physicians work as a team to help reduce out-of-pocket expenses for our patients. And that includes doing our part to minimize medication costs.”