Understanding Generic Medicines Vs. Brand Names To Save You Real Money

by Hank Coleman

Many people believe if they are taking a brand name drug that they are taking a medication that is higher in quality than the generic form of the medicine. Some believe that it is worth the extra cost to opt for a brand name as it will treat their ailment more effectively. However, this simply is not the case.

200428732-001If you want to save money in the long run, then generally it is best to choose a generic drug. Generics are the same as brand medications except they do not carry the distinction of a brand affiliation. If you shop intelligently for your medication, you can reap a huge savings on your prescription drugs. Generic medications go through a series of tests to make sure their efficacy is just as reliable as associated brands. Basically, they have the same ingredients and reap the same benefits as branded medications. They may just taste or physically look a little different.

However, some generic drugs do carry a “B” rating. This means that the drug has a slightly different effect on the body than its brand name counterpart. The “B” rating does not mean that the drug cannot do its job. It just means you should consult with your physician first before switching from a brand name medication to this kind of generic drug for your plan of treatment. If you do take a generic drug, check with your pharmacist and see if it has a “B” rating. If it does, you can consult with your doctor and ask him what this rating means as far as your overall care is concerned.

Nevertheless, if you want to see a major savings in what you pay for medications, it is best to choose a generic drug over a brand name if you can. Normally, all drugs have a generic name or scientific designation. Therefore, many generic drugs also have more than one brand name.

After a new medication is produced or created, drug companies are barred by patent laws in replicating a drug. However, upon a patent’s expiration, drug companies can produce the drug if they do not use its brand name. Therefore, they use a generic name.  If your doctor prescribes a certain brand medication for you to take, probably the most prudent reply would be to ask him if he could recommend a generic drug in the brand name’s place.

If you want to save money on your prescription medications, then you can be assured that an FDA-approved generic drug is just as safe and has the same high quality as a brand medication. The main difference between the two medicines lies in the cost. Generics normally are half the cost of correspondent brands.

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Tim Manni November 12, 2009 at 10:40 am

How do you find out if the medication has a “B rating” — the FDA?

Interesting and informative, thanks.

Hank November 12, 2009 at 3:39 pm

Great question Tim. I did some more research on the FDA’s website:

Those drugs or products which the FDA does not deem to be therapeutically equivalent are “B” rated. The coding system for therapeutic equivalence evaluations allows users to determine whether FDA has evaluated a particular approved generic drug as a therapeutically equivalent to brand name drugs. I bet this data and code is buried in the stack of paperwork you get from the pharmacist. Clear as mud? Be sure to check out the FDA’s webiste for some more great info.


Nadia November 12, 2009 at 5:32 pm

If there is a generic alternative, it’s definitely the way to go. As stated, they do the same job as the brand name drugs and cost substantially less. I use a new website called ‘Medtipster’ that enables you to locate low-cost, generic prescriptions from reputable pharmacies in your area. All you have to do is type in the medication you need, the dosage and your zip code and Medtipster will direct you to the least expensive retailer. The site makes finding affordable prescriptions easy…google search “Medtipster” and have a look

Victor November 12, 2009 at 9:26 pm

Most generic medications are good, but the FDA virtually does not check any generic samples for quality. Several years ago, the FDA reported that they tested about 1000 different samples in a year, hopefully they are doing better now. The congress killed a bill to make the drug companies pay to have their medications tested. One manufacturer submitted the brand name medication as a sample of their generic med.
If a medication can be measured either for effect or by blood level then I think that you are safe. But medications such as thyroid supplements vary in strength. If you can be sure of getting the same brand of generic then the savings can be great, but for medications such blood thinning meds be careful.

Tina C. November 13, 2009 at 2:23 pm

Would you mind if I use little snipets of your blog for an English paper? I’ll give you full credit.

Tim Manni November 16, 2009 at 10:46 am


Thanks for answering my question, your response was much appreciated. I’ll certainly be looking into that link.

Thanks again, I’ve been really enjoying your blog. Keep up the good work.

Also, if you’re interested in exchanging blogrolls we’d love to add you to ours at blog.hsh.com.


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