Why would you ever take a generic drug when you could stick with a trusted brand name? In a word: price. Generic drugs contain the same active ingredients at the same strength and purity as their brand-name counterparts, but they come at a fraction of the cost. According to the Congressional Budget Office, generic drugs save consumers an estimated $8 billion to $10 billion a year.
How much you save is up to you. If you ask your doctor about generic drugs and shop around for the best price, you could reduce your medical expenses substantially.
How Much Cheaper Are Generic Drugs?
The difference in the price between generics and brand name drugs varies widely (the retail price can vary even more). In most cases, generic drugs cost about 30 percent less than brand name versions.
Here are a few examples of brand names versus generics: The antidepressant Prozac is now also available as the generic drug fluoxetine (the active ingredient in Prozac). Prozac costs up to $185 a month for a dose of 20 mg a day. Compare that to the generic fluoxetine, which can cost as little as $24 a month for the same dose, and saves the consumer more than $1,932 a year. The asthma drug Ventolin has a generic equivalent called albuterol. At a dose of two puffs every 4 to 6 hours, the retail cost for Ventolin is $1.44 a day. The same dose of the generic, albuterol, may cost only 69 cents a day and saves the consumer $273 a year. A 20 mg dose of the hypertension drug Prinivil costs $1.24 a day. The same dose of lisinopril, Prinivil’s generic equivalent, costs less than half that.
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