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Generic drugs are safe, effective and affordable

A recent article about a generic drug recall questions the safety and effectiveness of generic alternatives. Drug recalls occur to both brand name and generic medications for a variety of reasons.

Just like the original brand name drugs, their generic alternatives are regulated by the Food and Drug Administration, which reviews the manufacturers’ tests of all generic drugs to be sure they are “bioequivalent and therapeutically equivalent” to the original products. That means the active ingredient in a generic drug is absorbed into the body at the same rate and amount as the brand name. The FDA reviews the drugs’ chemistry, formulation, strength, stability and purity. The FDA’s approval means the generic product is recognized as equal to the original drug.

Generic medications have become the “gold standard” for medications for years, especially as the cost of brand name drugs continues to rise at twice the inflation rate. Most generic drugs cost significantly less than their brand name counterparts and provide quality, access and affordability to people who need prescription medications.

In 2012 alone, generic drugs saved the U.S. health care system $217 billion. Closer to home, our studies have shown that every 1 percent increase in generic usage saves up to $2 million in pharmacy costs.

Generic medications continue to be a safe, viable alternative for patients. When coupled with the cost savings, generic medications are the right choice.

Martin Burruano, R.Ph.

Vice President

Pharmacy Services

Independent Health