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Blue Cross Blue Shield
March-April 2012, Vol. XXVII, No. 2
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Getting enough sleep
Generic OTC drugs
Medicine cabinet 'must-haves'
How to dispose of medicines
Dealing with angina
'Sandwich generation' stress
Watch for eye diseases
Heart-healthy oils and spreads
Walk for exercise
Tips for healthy hair
Risks of raw milk
Coffee and depression
New drug for macular degeneration
FDA approves Juvisync
A 'model' hobby
Add joy to your life
New museum showcases Greek history
'Grannies on Safari'
Medicare Basics
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Your Health

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.

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