Generic Drugs May Be Right For You

Prescription drugs may be a big part of your health care costs. But you may be able to lower your out-of-pocket costs. One way is by choosing generic drugs.

What Are Generic Drugs?

A generic drug generally works just like a brand drug at the same dose, strength and use. Generics are also approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) but often cost less.

Generic drugs can be used in two ways:

1) A generic equivalent  has the exact same active ingredients as the brand drug and are often available at the same dose. The active ingredient treats your condition or relieves your symptoms.

Your pharmacist can often fill a prescription with a generic equivalent without a new prescription from your doctor. Consider asking your doctor or pharmacist if there is a generic equivalent of the medicine you take.

According to the FDA, compared to its brand counterpart, an FDA-approved generic equivalent drug:

  • Is chemically the same
  • Works just as well in the body
  • Is as safe and effective
  • Meets the same standards set by the FDA

Not all prescription drugs have a generic equivalent. If there is no generic equivalent, you can ask your doctor if a generic alternative is an option. Only your doctor can decide if a generic alternative is right for you.

2) A generic alternative is used to treat the same condition as the brand drug you may have been prescribed, but the active ingredients differ from the brand drug.

If a generic alternative is right for you, your doctor will need to write a new prescription for the medicine.

How Can I Learn More About Generic Drugs?

Talk to your doctor or pharmacist about the choices you have and if a generic drug is right for you. If you have questions about your prescription drug benefit or to find out what you may pay for any prescription, log in to Blue Access for MembersSM or call Customer Service at the number listed on your BCBSIL member ID card.

Remember, treatment decisions are always between you and your doctor.