The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is approving more generic medications every day. The FDA approves more than 800 generic drug applications each year. Many of these approvals are for the first generic version of a brand-name drug.
This is great news for patients. When multiple generic companies market a single approved product, market competition typically results in prices about 85% less than the brand-name drug (source: imshealth.com). This greater affordability can help patients stick to their treatment for the prescribed time. Simply put, when you prescribe generics, medication adherence—and health care—can improve.
Some patients, however, believe the lower costs mean that generic medications cost less because they have lower quality, safety or effectiveness. Patients may not understand that the costs of medications are determined by drug companies, the market and competition. Lower costs do not reflect a reduction in FDA standards. These patients need to be aware that for a generic medication to receive FDA approval it must demonstrate that it works the same in the body as the brand-name drug. Talking with patients about generic medications can allay their concerns about the safety and effectiveness of their drugs and provide them with cost savings, as well.
Educating patients on the topic of generic medications will also help you address concerns about your patient’s adherence to the treatment protocol. This conversation gives you and your patient the chance to discuss any of their apprehensions about generics that may prevent them from taking their medication as prescribed.
Good communication about prescription medication options at the hospital, in the doctor’s office, and at the pharmacy can help patients use generics with confidence and address any concerns they have up front.
To help support your conversations with patients, FDA has both web and print resources that explain the differences between brand-name and generic drugs, the availability and cost of generics, the FDA review process, and much more.
Please visit the FDA website for resources for patients and start this important conversation with patients.