Generic drugs are cost affordable alternatives to brand name medications.
Why is that so important for you as a consumer to understand?
It is about cost and it is about options for you. According to AARP, Nearly 300 brand name drugs increased almost 130 times faster than general inflation from 2014 to 2015
The retail price tag for brand-name drugs widely used by older Americans jumping by an average of 15.5 percent in 2015 — the fourth straight year with a double-digit increase, a new AARP Public Policy Institute report finds.
The average annual cost for one brand name drug used to treat a chronic health condition topped $5,800 last year, compared with less than $1,800 a decade ago when AARP began the study.
Ativan 1 mg tablets, the anti-anxiety drug, with price hikes of up to 2,873 percent between 2006 and 2015, and the antidepressant Wellbutrin XL 300 mg tablets, which increased by 1,185 percent. The retail price of Humulin U-500, a short-acting insulin product used to treat diabetes, rose by 538 percent over the past 10 years, most of that in the past five years.
Brand name drug price increases translate into higher out-of-pocket costs, especially for consumers who pay a percentage of drugs costs (coinsurance) rather than a fixed dollar amount (co-payment). Higher prices are typically passed along to consumers in the form of higher price sharing, deductibles, and premiums.
It is because of this dramatic rise in branded medications costs that customers need to reach for generic options that put their medications within affordable reach for them.
What is a Generic Drug?
A generic drug is one that contains the same pharmaceutical agent as the brand name drug.
Generics can be produced once the patent of a brand name drug expires. Generic companies are able to manufacture the same chemical ingredients that are found in brand-name drugs at substantially reduced costs.
In Canada, all generic products must meet stringent testing to ensure that these drugs work as effectively as the brand name versions. This testing occurs prior to any generic medication being allowed into the market.
In fact, the generic versions of some drugs are manufactured by the same companies and at the same locations as the brand name versions. Our international pharmacy partners provide additional savings on generic as well as brand named medications and they are manufactured with equally high standards to those required in Canada.
Make sure you ask your doctor about the availability of generic drugs. After all, it’s your money – why not use it wisely!