The Persistent Value of Generics


The use of brand-name medications, when clinically-equivalent generics are available, results in billions of dollars in pharmacy waste each year in the United States. The average price of brand-name drugs increased 16.2 percent in 2015 and has risen 98.2 percent since 2011. For this reason, it is important to note that more than half of the prescription drugs available today have a generic option for consumers.

A generic drug is a chemically equivalent, lower-cost version of a brand-name drug. Each generic medication dispensed in the U.S. must meet the same strict standards of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for quality and therapeutic efficacy to ensure bioequivalence to brand-name medications, prior to approval.

In other words, generic medications, by law, must contain the same active ingredients and work the same way in the human body.

While it’s true that the price for some generics have increased, on the whole, generic medications continue to deliver significant cost savings by providing cost-effective alternatives to brand-name medications. Generic prices for the most commonly used drugs decreased 20.7 percent from 2014 to 2015.