Many people are aware that they can save on prescription drug costs by switching from brand-name drugs to their generic equivalents. However, the topic of generic drugs can be confusing. For starters, a generic drug is a copy of a brand-name drug. Meaning, it is identical to the brand-name drug in dosage, strength, safety, performance and use. Both prescription and non-prescription drugs can have generic versions.
All generic drugs go through a rigorous review process before they are approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). In addition, generic drugs must look different from their brand-name counterparts. A generic can be any color, size or shape, as long as it does not look exactly like the brand-name drug.
Keep in mind that generic drugs are usually but not always cheaper than their brand-name counterpart. To be sure, it is best to check the drug tier on your Medicare Part D prescription drug plan formulary. Your doctor can also help you understand what drugs are available and whether a generic may be right for you based on your needs. Remember when your doctor prescribes you a new drug, make sure to ask if it has a generic version and if your doctor thinks the generic would work for you.
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