How Generic Drugs Can Help You Save Money on Your Prescriptions

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If you’re looking for ways to lower your health care costs, consider what you’re paying for your prescription medications.

While prescription drug prices are constantly fluctuating, a U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) report produced in 2019 says that generic drugs can save you as much as 79% over their name-brand equivalents.

How Generic Drugs Can Help You Save on Health Costs

Money expert Clark Howard is a big fan of paying as little as possible for your prescription medications. In this article, I’ll show you why generic drugs are usually the cheapest way to go and how you can save money by using them.

What Are Generic Drugs?

Generic drugs are medications that are manufactured to be equivalent to brand-name drugs in key areas such as performance, safety and intended use.

Before they make it to stores and pharmacies, generic drugs must meet a battery of rigorous standards, according to the FDA. Here are a few:

  • The active ingredient must be the same as the name-brand drug.
  • The medication must have the same application.
  • The drug must match the name-brand when it comes to product type (tablet or injectable) and strength.

The FDA’s website has a list of approved generic prescription medications. Let’s take a look at some of the more popular ones. I’ve also added some conditions that drugs are used for, according to GoodRx.

Brand-Name MedicationGeneric MedicationCondition(s) Used For
AmbienZolpidemInsomnia
AtivanLorazepamAnxiety
FlonaseFluticasoneItching
PepcidFamotidine Ulcers
PrilosecOmeprazole Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
ProzacFluoxetineDepression, eating disorders
Tylenol with CodeineAcetaminophen with Codeine
Mild to moderate pain
UltramTramadolModerate to severe pain
XanaxAlprazolamAnxiety, panic attacks
ZoloftSertralineDepression, social anxiety

Final Thoughts

The #1 way to find out if there is a generic drug that you can use instead of a brand name is to simply ask a pharmacist.

Clark suggests that you partner with your doctor to find cheaper alternatives to the brand-name prescription medications that he or she may want to prescribe for you.

“Doctors have no idea what prescriptions cost. So a doctor will write a prescription based on what they think is the best thing for you,” Clark says. “But maybe you can find something just about as good that instead of costing $100 will cost you $4. That’s a big difference!”

If you need to research some prescription medication, look it up on the FDA’s list of approved drugs.

If you are unable to use generics or you’re simply looking for more ways to save on your prescriptions, read Team Clark’s guide.

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