Generic OTC drugs can help your financial health, too
When shopping for an over-the-counter (OTC) drug to relieve a headache, cold, flu, or other common ailment, do you automatically reach for familiar brand-name medications you recognize from TV commercials? You might be able to save money by choosing generic versions instead. Ask your doctor or pharmacist about choosing the generic OTC medication that is right for you and your symptoms.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires all generic medicines—whether prescription or OTC—to:
- Contain the same active ingredients as their brand-name counterparts
- Have the same intended uses
- Affect the body the same way in the same time frame
- Meet the same strength, identity, quality, and purity standards
- Be identical in dosage form, strength, and how they're taken
- Adhere to the same strict manufacturing standards required for brand-name versions
Although generic drugs are the same as brand-names in all these ways, there's one big difference. Generic medications generally cost significantly less than brand-name versions. Americans save an estimated $8 billion to $10 billion a year at retail pharmacies by choosing generic medicines instead of their brand-name counterparts.