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Saving Money with Generic Drugs - Are Generic Drugs Safe?

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Do you know about generic drug programs?
If you are elderly and have a serious health condition like heart disease or diabetes, you may be taking as many as a dozen expensive prescription drugs. Walmart has led the way to tremendous price break on prescription drugs and since then, Target, Kroger, Walgreen, Safeway, K-Mart and other stores have implemented similar programs.

Walmart started it all in their stores in Florida, reducing many generic prescription drugs to only $4 per prescription. Then, in November of 2006, Walmart extended the service to other stores, including Sam's Club Pharmacies, in 49 states. Call your local Walmart pharmacy and ask about the $4 generic drug program. However, keep in mind that a lot of the newer drugs do not qualify.

When 3 Month Prescriptions Can Help:
Many of the same places that offer generic drug programs also offer even more savings if you have your doctor write your prescription for 3 months instead of one. $10 for 3 months works out to even less than the $4 per month program. However, you should ask your doctor about all the drugs you take and only choose this program with those that your doctor feels fairly confident you will be on for at least 3 months.

FDA Approving More Generic Drugs but are generic drugs safe?
According to the FDA, for a generic version of a prescription drug to be approved, it has to withstand rigorous scientific review and be proven safe and as effective as it's higher-priced equivalent. They compare quality, safety, effectiveness, dosage form, medicine strength, conditions of use and the way the generic is adminstered.

If a generic drug manufacturer wants to be approved they must demonstrate bioequivalence which means that they are able to show that their generic version delivers the same amount of the active ingredient in that drug, in the same amount of time as the brand-name counterpart. The FDA considers proof of bioequivalence vital to determining whether the generic drug will perform as well as the brand-name version of the same medication.

Health Care Disclaimer: Generic drugs are considered as safe as their brand-name counterparts but what I see more often is that doctors may prescribe a less expensive, similar drug to replace an existing prescription. While I understand the vital needs for those on fixed income to have affordable medications, sometimes the "similar" medication may not work as well as the original. For example, my Mom does not see the same results with prilosec as she does with nexium. It's important to weight cost against results.