Does the cost of your medications cause you to question their value to your health? Prescription drug costs have increased rapidly in recent years. One way to reduce your costs is to ask your doctor if a generic drug is available for your condition.
New drugs typically have patent protection for a number of years. After the patent ends, competitors can make a generic version that is identical to the brand name drug, but can be substantially lower in cost. Generic drugs must meet the same U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) standards for safety and effectiveness as brand name drugs.
Generic drugs account for about half of all prescriptions written today. The cost of a generic drug is often much lower than the brand name drug, while the benefits and risks are the same. The generic version saves you money when you buy your medications, and helps to control the overall cost of drugs figured into health insurance premiums. Ask your doctor if a generic is right for you.
For more information about generic drugs, check out this infographic.
Michael Atwood, M.D., CHIE, is the vice president of medical affairs and chief medical officer at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas. He is a board certified family physician and an American Academy of Family Physicians fellow.
Note: Since the date of this publication, Dr. Atwood has retired from BCBSKS.