Are you spending too much on prescription medications?

People often equate price with quality, believing that a higher price gets you a superior product. In the case of prescription drugs, however, that belief could be leading you to spend more money than necessary.

As a health-care consumer, here are important things for you to know about generic drugs:

  • A generic drug is chemically identical to its brand-name counterpart, but typically costs much less.
  • Consumers save $8 to $10 billion dollars a year when they purchase generic drugs. The average brand-name prescription costs $198, while the average generic costs just over $72.
  • Many health insurance plans pay a greater percentage of the cost of a generic drug than a non-generic drug. The average co-payment for a generic drug is $6. The average co-payment for a brand-name drug is $29.
  • About 75% of all brand-name drugs have a generic equivalent. As top-selling brand-name drugs lose their patent, more and more generics will become available.
  • You can find out if a medication has a generic and how much you could save if you switched to a generic version by linking onto the Food and Drug Administration’s “Electronic Orange Book” at and, or ask your pharmacist.
  • Most doctors are receptive to patients who ask for generics. If a generic is not available, alternative medication in the same class of drugs may be available in generic form.


Sources: The National Association of Chain Drug Stores; U.S. Food and Drug Administration

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