Ask The Pharmacist: Is There A Generic For That?

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(credit: Thinkstock)

(credit: Thinkstock)

Many of us just completed our employer’s annual benefits enrollment period and are preparing for an increase in our share of healthcare costs in 2013.

While we may face increases in premiums, deductibles and copays, there is good news for those who use medications for chronic conditions.

Popular brand-name medications, including Actos®, Ritalin®, Lexapro®, Singulair® and Plavix®, became available as generics in 2012. And 16 more will become available in 2013, giving millions of Americans an unprecedented chance to cut their prescription-drug costs. See the full list of patent expirations.

Tap Into Potential Savings

While more than half of the prescription drugs available today have a generic option for consumers, some experts claim that this could be the biggest opportunity for savings from generics for the next 20 years.

Not only does the use of generics save consumers money, but people who use generics are 62% more likely to take their medications as directed, leading to healthier outcomes and lower total healthcare costs.

However, while there’s a great opportunity to save money, one of the biggest challenges is getting people to seek out and use generic medications. Last year alone, $49 billion in brand-name drugs were dispensed when a generic equivalent was available.

Six Simple Words

The best way to take advantage of the new generics coming to market is to ask a very simple question: “Is there a generic for that?”

  • Check it out during your checkup: Before leaving a doctor’s office with prescription in hand, be sure to ask the doctor or nurse, “Is there a generic for that?”
  • Give your prescriptions a checkup: Review all of your medications regularly with a doctor or pharmacist, because there may be new, lower-cost treatments available.
  • Find out before you fill: When you hand over a new prescription to your pharmacist, or during refill or renewal time, ask, “Is there a generic for that?” The pharmacist can tell you and then call your doctor to discuss changing the prescription accordingly.
  • Understand the difference between equivalents and alternatives: A generic equivalent contains the same active ingredients as the brand-name version; a generic alternative is similar to the brand-name medication you currently use but is not the exact same medication. If there is no generic equivalent available, ask your doctor or pharmacist if there is a generic alternative that would be clinically appropriate for you.
  • Smart choices: If you are an Express Scripts member, you can learn more about your plan-specific generics savings opportunities by going to Express-Scripts.com.

Six simple words can improve your health and protect your wallet. Ask: “Is there a generic for that?” today!

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The content of this post is provided by our sponsor, Express Scripts.

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