Generic drugs are the less expensive, but equally effective option
(Mirror Daily, United States) – The American College of Physicians (ACP) advises that doctors should not forget about generic drugs when prescribing medication for their patients. It’s a measure meant for both lowering the cost for those with illnesses and the costs that translate further to the government.
According to the ACP, this could have extensive and beneficial consequences if it’s achieved. Their recommendation is stemmed in the fact that generic drugs are cheaper and just as effective. It would save the patients money, and more importantly, it would make them better adhere to the treatment.
The problem has been tackled into the United States, where 88% of the prescribed medication are generic drugs. And in spite of it, their contribute to less than a third of the total $325 million that the population actually spends on medication. That means that brand name drugs still have a place, especially when it regards costs.
ACP president, Wayne Riley, has stated that it’s in the habit of doctors to prescribe expensive brand name medication when generic variations are available. This could be due to several reasons, including the fact that they could simply be more used it. Furthermore, some physicians and patients alike believe that opting for the cheaper version will sacrifice their effect.
But, according to the Federal Drug Administration (FDA), these generic variants are generally no different than major brand name medication. They have been put through the same extensive research and process, to make sure that they’re both safe and effective. Furthermore, they do not allow companies to make drugs that are different by more than 45% than their brand-name version.
However, this not often set into the mentality of either the patient of the doctor, according to co-author of the study, Dr. Amir Qaseem.
If they’re not afraid that the generic drugs will be less effective, patients often ignore the option of asking for them. Most are afraid to mention that they cannot afford the big brand name drugs. This leads to dangerous consequences, such as purchasing a lower dose than prescribed or filling the prescription just once, against recommendation.
The researchers explained that brand-name drugs are twice as likely to never picked up again from the pharmacy. It could drastically endanger the patient’s health.
The ACP study recommends doctors to provide free samples of the generic medication, and help raise awareness toward the benefits, effect, and much lower cost. It could better improve the health of their patients, assure that they will be filling those prescription, and save Medicare around $1.4 billion.
Image source: healthaffairs.org