The American market for pharmaceuticals is currently experiencing nothing short of a boom.
The Centers for Disease Control notes that physicians provide or prescribe 2.3 billion drugs for their patients. And the Washington Post reported in November 2015 that 3 out of 5 Americans take a prescription drug.
By 2018, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) could approve 200 more drugs, according to CVS Caremark. These would include specialty drugs for liver disease, HIV, multiple sclerosis, hepatitis C and rheumatoid arthritis. CVS Caremark says that specialty drugs like these account for 50 percent of our prescription spending in the U.S.
“As new medications become available, talk with your doctor to understand options of brand name drugs versus generic alternatives,” said Joanne Abate, assistant vice president of Global Benefits at Unum. “The price difference can be astounding, so it’s important to consider generics as a more affordable option.”
Once a patent for a name-brand drug ends, other drug companies are able to make and sell a generic version to the market. The competition among multiple generic drug companies helps keep the prices low. They’re FDA-approved, safe and can be taken with confidence.
WebMD reported that almost 80 percent of prescription drugs are sold as generics. This way, it saves hospitals and patients billions of dollars each year. Someone who switches to generic prescription could save at least two-thirds of their drug costs.
Do your homework
At the end of the day, it’s best to consult with a medical professional first before switching.
“Your pharmacist is also a great resource to examine your medications and recommend generics that may be just as effective,” Abate said.
By re-evaluating, you have the potential to save more money while receiving the same ingredients found in name-brand drugs.