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Generic vs. Brand Name Drugs
How are generic drugs and brand name drugs different?
When it comes to generic vs. brand name drugs, the main difference is name and appearance. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires generic drugs to have the same active ingredient, strength, dosage form, and route of administration as the brand name drug. They are also developed and approved according to the same standards as brand name drugs.
Why are brand name drugs more expensive?
Brand name drug makers have to cover their research, testing, and promotion costs. Some of those costs are passed on to you, and cost is the main reason why brand name drugs are more expensive than generic drugs.
Patents allow brand name drugs to be sold exclusively for a limited time. When the patent expires other companies are allowed to make a generic version of the brand name drug. Since the brand name drug company has already done most of the work, generic medications are less expensive.
Are generic medications safe?
Generic drugs are tested using the same methods as brand name drugs, and require approval from the FDA.
The generic version of a brand name drug must meet the following criteria:
- Contain the same active ingredients
- Be taken by the patient in the same manner
- Have the same strength and dosage
- Be identical in quality
When I fill a prescription, am I receiving a generic or a brand name drug?
Generic versions of most brand name drugs are available, and allow you to save money year-over-year. Your doctor and pharmacist can tell you if the medication you’re taking is generic vs. brand name.
Should I take generic medications?
Generic drugs are manufactured to be just as effective as brand name drugs and less expensive. However, only your doctor can tell you what’s right for you. Generic versions aren’t available for all medications. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if generic medications are available for your prescription. If a less expensive version is available, you could end up saving money.
How do generic drugs affect my health care plan?
Some health insurance plans are designed to recommend opportunities to save money, including lowering costs with generic drugs. Some plans require that you use a generic medication instead of the more expensive brand name drug.
Always check with your doctor or pharmacist to understand your options. For details about your health plan coverage, review your plan documents or call the number on your plan ID card.
This information is for educational purposes only. It is not medical advice. Always consult your doctor for appropriate examinations, treatment, testing and care recommendations.
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Individual and family medical and dental insurance plans are insured by Cigna Health and Life Insurance Company (CHLIC), Cigna HealthCare of Arizona, Inc., Cigna HealthCare of Illinois, Inc., Cigna HealthCare of Georgia, Inc., Cigna HealthCare of North Carolina, Inc., Cigna HealthCare of South Carolina, Inc., and Cigna HealthCare of Texas, Inc. Group health insurance and health benefit plans are insured or administered by CHLIC, Connecticut General Life Insurance Company (CGLIC), or their affiliates (see a listing of the legal entities that insure or administer group HMO, dental HMO, and other products or services in your state). Accidental Injury, Critical Illness, and Hospital Care plans or insurance policies are distributed exclusively by or through operating subsidiaries of The Cigna Group Corporation, are administered by Cigna Health and Life Insurance Company, and are insured by either (i) Cigna Health and Life Insurance Company (Bloomfield, CT); (ii) Life Insurance Company of North America (“LINA”) (Philadelphia, PA); or (iii) New York Life Group Insurance Company of NY (“NYLGICNY”) (New York, NY), formerly known as Cigna Life Insurance Company of New York. The Cigna Healthcare name, logo, and other Cigna Healthcare marks are owned by The Cigna Group Intellectual Property, Inc. LINA and NYLGICNY are not affiliates of The Cigna Group.
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