What Do I Need to Know About Generic Drugs?
Brand-name drugs come to market with a 20-year protective patent. As this period ends, any drug maker can apply to the Food and Drug Administration to sell a generic, but chemically equivalent, version.
That’s why drugs have brand names and generic names. For example, the generic name of Prilosec is omeprazole. Manufacturer AstraZeneca owns the exclusive rights to sell the drug because they created and patented it. Once their patent expires, manufacturers can make and sell the same chemical formula of the drug.
Generics have the same strength and dosage as the brand-name drug. They’re developed with the same standards, and are just as safe and effective.
The FDA tests and approves a generic drug if it:
Generic drugs are often manufactured by companies that also make brand-name drugs. The FDA regulates and inspects all drug manufacturers and all drugs sold in the U.S. If any product doesn’t meet production standards, it’ll be recalled. They hold generic drugs to the same standard.
The biggest advantage of using generics is the price. Generics cost around 40 to 60 percent less, and you get the same strength, dosage and quality of medication.
Hospitals and physicians prescribe generics more than brand-name drugs. In fact, they make up more than 80 percent of prescriptions filled in the U.S.
If you want to see what you could save on your prescriptions, ask your doctor or pharmacist about filling them with generics. You can also compare prescription prices when you log in to your member account on our website or the Blue Cross mobile app.
Read How Can I Save on Prescription Drugs to learn more about generics and how they reduce costs.