Are generic drugs safe? You bet!

Knock offs or the real deal? Long known to be safe, effective and approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), generics now make up 80 percent of all prescriptions filled.

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Why choose generic over name-brand drugs?

The cost of prescription medications is rising at an unprecedented rate, with no end in sight. The good news is that generic medications—long known to be safe, effective and approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)—are a viable alternative for patients, especially those with chronic medical issues.

In fact, there’s no difference in how generic medications and their brand-name equivalents are made, resulting in identical quality, safety, strength/dosage, and effectiveness.

But there is usually a huge difference in cost. On average, generic medications cost 75 percent less than their brand equivalents. As a result, member copays for generics are usually significantly less than for brands.

More than 80 percent of all prescriptions filled are generic medications. While generics may have different inactive ingredients and may be a different color, shape or size than their brand-name counterparts, generics contain the same active ingredients, and are identical in dosage, safety, strength, quality, and effectiveness. Best of all, generic drugs are less expensive and can save you and your employer on the cost of healthcare.

When you get the drug you need at a reasonable price, it’s easier to follow your treatment course, and easier on your wallet.

That’s why we recommend that every time you’re given a prescription you ask your doctor or pharmacist if a generic alternative is available.

Frequently asked questions about generic drugs

What’s the difference between generic and brand-name drugs?

Drugs have generic names and brand names. Under the brand name, one manufacturer has exclusive rights to sell the drug. Once the patent has expired, other manufacturers can make the same drug and call it by its generic name. Other than the name, there’s little difference between generic and brand-name drugs.

Are the ingredients the same?

Yes, the active ingredients are the same. The strength and dosage of generics are identical to the brands, and they’re just as safe and effective. The FDA tests every generic drug. Manufacturers must develop generics using the same standards used for the brand. If they don’t, the FDA will not approve the release of the generic drug.

Who manufactures generic drugs?

Generic drugs are often manufactured by companies that also make brand-name drugs. The FDA regulates and inspects all drug manufacturers and all drugs sold in the U.S. Generic drugs are held to the same standard as brands.

Does every brand-name drug also have a generic equivalent?

No. New drugs have patents that prevent the creation of generic alternatives until the patent has expired. When the patent expires, other companies can start selling the generic version of the drug after the FDA tests and approves it.

What are the advantages of using generic drugs?

The biggest advantage is the price. You can save as much as 90 percent over the cost of brand-name medications.

Do hospitals and doctors support the use of generic drugs?

Hospitals and physicians often use generic drugs. They also prescribe generics more than brand-name drugs. In fact, generics make up more than 80 percent of all prescriptions filled in the U.S.

Learn more about the benefits of generics

Ask your physician or pharmacist if it’s possible to fill your prescription with a generic. By using generic drugs whenever possible you can lower your prescription drug costs. You’ll also get the same strength, dosage, and quality as the brand-name drug.

Eight out of every 10 prescriptions filled in the U.S. are for generics. They are safe, effective, and cost less than brand-name drugs.

Talk with your doctor or pharmacist to learn more about generics.

Additional information is also available at, by calling the FDA at 888.463.6332, or by emailing