Generic drugs save you money - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Generic drugs save you money

By Christian Jennings - bio | email

August 15, 2008

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Prescription drug prices continue to rise. Even if you have insurance, your medicine can be expensive. There could be a solution you haven't thought of. Simply asking for generic versions of your prescriptions could save you a bunch. Medications for pain, blood pressure, birth control; all common prescriptions people refill every month. And the money adds up. But it doesn't have to be a strain on your budget.

"Today's economy more people are more and more concerned about their dollar and so they're very proactive in asking about a generic," says Greg Phillips, owner of Phillips Pharmacy in Albany. But many people are wary. Are generic drugs as effective as brand name prescriptions? The answer is yes.

"The generic companies that make the drug they have to run tests and submit those tests to the FDA and that have to meet certain guidelines," says Phillips. Generics are almost a clone of their brand name counterpart. They have the same results, but they have one main difference, a difference that keeps customers happy.

"Majority of medications that are made as a brand name do have a generic, and it's substantial savings," says Phillips. Here's an example. Nexium, a pill used for Acid Reflex. A month's worth of pills goes for about $150. Now take Omeprozole, a comparable generic. It sells for about $20 a month."

Most of the time you are going to find a 60-80 percent savings by switching to generic. Some medications do not have a generic, but most of them do. If you want to know if the pill you are taking has one, ask your pharmacist, and make the switch. A handful of drug prescriptions say on the label "do not substitute." Pharmacists say you should follow the guidelines or talk with your doctor.

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