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View common questions members may have about generic drugs.
Generic Drugs: Safe, Effective, and FDA Approved
A common myth is that if something costs less, it must not work as well. Brand-name drug manufacturers spend millions of dollars promoting their products through advertisements, unlike generic drug manufacturers. But are brands any better than generics? Just because a new brand-name drug is introduced to the market does not mean that there is not a generic drug available that is just as safe and effective. The good news is that, in most cases, a generic drug is available at your lowest copayment, which saves you money.
Many brand-name drugs have generic equivalents and alternatives available to treat many medical conditions. What is the difference between a generic equivalent and a generic alternative?
A generic equivalent is a medication that contains the same active ingredient as the brand-name drug. The drug lisinopril, for example, is the generic equivalent of brands Zestril® and Prinivil®. The FDA has approved generic equivalents as being the same in safety and effectiveness as their brand-name counterparts.
A generic alternative, on the other hand, is a generic drug that works similarly to a brand-name drug and treats the same condition. The drug lisinopril, for example, is a generic alternative to brand Altace®. Both are effective to lower blood pressure but do not contain the exact same ingredients.
Some Advantages to taking a Generic Equivalent or Generic Alternative:
Immediate Cost Savings: Generally, generic equivalents or alternatives cost less and are available at a lower copay than the similar brand-name drugs.
Long Term Cost Savings: Choosing generic drugs helps keep health care costs lower for Health Net and our members, leaving valuable resources available for more critical needs.
Everyone benefits from affordable health care, but we each must do our part to keep costs low. Using generic equivalents and generic alternatives whenever possible is an easy way to help keep your benefits affordable and receive the same quality of care.
Get into the habit of asking your physician if a generic equivalent or a generic alternative is available each time you are prescribed a medication. Be sure to share this important information with your family and friends, and ask them to do the same with you.
Information last updated 12/14/2010