Should you consider
switching from brand name
medicines to generics?

Generic medicines may be a great option that
can save you money while providing a safe,
quality product you’ve come to expect. Here
are some facts to help you decide.

March 08, 2022 | 3 min read

Being an informed healthcare consumer includes doing your homework when it comes to making decisions about the medicines you take. You want to ensure the medicines are safe and that you are getting the best price.

More people are choosing generic medicines to fill their prescriptions than ever before. They are finding the benefits of generics make them an excellent choice for many of the medicines they commonly take.

Below are some of the benefits of generics to consider when deciding if switching from a brand-name drug is right for you.

A generic drug is the same as a brand-name drug in many ways, including:

  • dosage
  • safety
  • strength
  • quality
  • the way it works
  • the way it is taken
  • the way it should be used

Generic drugs that are approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are just as safe as brand-name drugs.

The FDA says that all drugs must work well and be safe before they approved for consumers to use. Generic drugs use the same active ingredients as brand-name drugs and work the same way, so they have the same risks and benefits as the brand-name drugs. They are also manufactured at the same high-standard factories as brand-name drugs. Always be sure that the generic drugs you select are FDA-approved.

Generic drugs are less expensive and can save you quite a bit of money.

When new drugs are first made, they have drug patents. Most drug patents are protected for 17 years. The patent protects the company that made the drug first. The patent does not allow anyone else to make and sell the drug. When the patent expires, other drug companies can start selling the generic version of the drug, once it is approved by the FDA.

Creating a drug costs a lot of money. Since generic drug makers do not develop a drug from scratch, the costs to bring the drug to market are less. This allows consumers to benefit with lower prices on many of the medicines they need.

According to the FDA, “Generic drugs have exactly the same active ingredients and effects as brand-name drugs, but they can cost as much as 30 percent to 80 percent less”.

Still, there are some people who doubt generics because they think that anything that costs more must be better. But it is important to remember that the reason generic drug manufacturers can sell the drugs for less is not because the quality is lower.

Although brand-name drugs and generic drugs have the same active ingredients, sometimes they look different.

In the United States, trademark laws do not allow generic drugs to look exactly like the brand-name drug. However, the generic drug must have the same active ingredients. Colors, flavors, and certain other parts may be different. But these things do not affect the way the drug works.

Not every brand-name drug has a generic drug option.

Although generic versions are not available for all medications, there are ways to find out if there is a generic version of a brand-name drug that you and your health care provider can consider.

  • Ask the prescribing healthcare provider or a pharmacist
  • Search for the drug using the FDA’s Drugs@FDATrusted Source system. Search for the brand-name drug first.
  • Search for the drug using the online version of the Orange Book. Search for the brand-name drug first.
  • Check the FDA’s list of first-time generic drug approvalsTrusted Source. This is where people can find first generics, the first time the drug gets FDA approval.

For more information when deciding if generics are right for you, contact your primary care provider, a pharmacist, or another of your healthcare partners for help.

Reference this Generics Fact Sheet to learn more about generics.

You can also learn more by visiting the FDA website at: http://www.fda.gov/genericdrugs

Search for your medicine on the DiRx website to see how much you’ll save, or search by condition.

If you don’t see your medicine on our list, our customer care team would be happy to help. If there’s a generic available, we will find it, source it, and ship it to you promptly. Our pharmacists are a quick call away to answer any questions that you may have at 877-FOR-DIRX.