Currently, over 60 percent of all prescriptions filled Most prescription drug plans, including the Christian in the United States are for generic medications.1 Brothers Employee Benefit Trust plan, have a lower These medications treat conditions from high blood co-payment for generic medications because the cost pressure, high cholesterol, heartburn and stomach of generic medications are considerably less expensive ulcers, to insomnia, allergies, arthritis, and more. than brand name medications. Staying informed about According to the FDA, more than 70 percent of generic medications will allow consumers to make brand name drugs have generic counterparts, and confident decisions, along with their medical providers, are readily available to treat many common health in helping to control prescription medication costs.
conditions. Although most states allow pharmacists to automatical y substitute generics for brand name Below is a list of some well-known brand name drugs, unless the prescription is written as a DAW medications that are due to have generic equivalents (dispense as written), it is up to the consumer to ask their doctor if a generic medication would work Generic Drug
Release Dates 2011-2012
The price variations between brand name and generic Cholesterol Lowering Agents
drugs can sometimes be astonishing. On average, It’s easy to become concerned about generic drugs.
Lipitor®/Caduet®: Loses patent protection in generic drugs can often save the consumer up to Many consumers worry and wonder about the quality
80 percent on the cost of a prescription when and effectiveness of generics compared to their brand
compared with the brand name drug, with the Antidepressant
name counterparts. But the fact is, the Food and Drug
median cost savings being anywhere from 30 percent Lexapro®: An SSRI loses patent protection in Administration (FDA) requires all generic drugs to
to 50 percent. According to the National Association have the same quality and performance as the brand
of Chain Drug Stores, in 2008, the average retail price Anti-Platelet Drugs
name equivalents. When a new generic drug product
of a generic prescription drug was $35.22, compared Plavix®: Loses patent protection in May 2012. is approved, it has already met all of the standards
to the retail price of the comparable brand name Miscellaneous Pulmonary Agents
established by the FDA.
prescription drug, which was $137.90. Generic drugs save consumers an estimated $8 to $10 billion a year Singulair®: Loses patent protection in August 2012. at retail pharmacies, and billions more are saved when Anti-Hypertensive Therapy
hospitals consistently use generic drugs. Diovan®/Diovan HCT®: Loses patent protection in imilar to any new product being developed, to manufacturing and labeling. According to the FDA, brand name drugs are created under patent protection. This patent protects the drug • Contain the same active ingredients as the brand “Helped by Generics, Inflation of Drug Costs Slows.” manufacturer’s investment in the drug’s development New York Times, September 21, 2007.
by giving the company the sole right to sell the drug • Be identical in strength, dosage form, and route of while the patent is in effect. When these patents expire, John Airola is the managing director of Employee Benefit
other manufacturers then have the opportunity to • Have the same use of indications Services at Christian Brothers Services.
apply to the FDA to sell generic versions. To enable a generic drug to be created, manufacturers • Meet the same batch requirements for identity, must submit an abbreviated new drug application Another myth is that many consumers feel lower
(ANDA) for approval to market the generic product. • Be manufactured under the same strict standards cost equals lower effectiveness. Generic drugs are
of the FDA’s good manufacturing practice regulations Before the FDA approves new generic drugs, the drugs less expensive because the original manufacturer
required for brand name products One myth is that some consumers believe they
are put through a rigorous, multi-step approval process has already made the investment in the drug’s
are more likely to cause side effects, which is
that covers everything from quality and performance The only differences in the generic compared to the development. Hence, the generic manufacturer
original brand is that the drug may be a different color not the case. The FDA conducts almost 3,500 does not have to incur the costs associated with
or shape, may have different dye or fillers, and may inspections each year of manufacturing facilities
creation, testing, sales and advertising, thereby
to ensure that all quality standards are met.
leading to lower costs.


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