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March 21, 2018 06:14 PM

Generic Vs. Brand Name Drug

It's already bad enough when you're sick, but seeing a big price tag on your prescription can make you feel even worse.

That cost can depend on whether its generic or brand name. 
When picking up your prescription, the pharmacist may hand you a different drug than your doctor prescribed. 

They'll often give you the generic version of the prescription drug. 

"Well, I generally take the generic. From what I hear there isn't really a difference, except there could be a difference in coatings," Erma Unruh said.

Unruh prefers generic drugs because of the lower price, but what about the quality?

 "The FDA does testing and makes sure that they're equal. So, they have to be the same strength, work the same, give the same effect," Lewis Drug Pharmacist Jackie Thomas said.

In addition to prescription drugs, pharmacists say that FDA standard also applies to over the counter drugs. 

"The only things that might be a little different is the inactive ingredients, or the color or shape, but they're supposed to carry out the same effects," Thomas said. 

So if the quality is the same, why is there a price difference?

"They have to kind of go through research and marketing to make a new drug. That whole start up process can cost quite a bit of money. So the companies that are making these new drugs get patents on them," Thomas said. 

That patent lasts about 20 years, and only after it's up can a generic version be made. 

"We'll pick the generic product just because they are equivalent and it usually saves them some money," Thomas said. 

Unruh says she's happy with the generic brand and has only had good experiences with them. 

"I've never had any side effects that I've been aware of," Unruh said.

For more information on how the FDA regulates generic drugs, click here.

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