Ten years ago, about 50 percent of all medications dispensed at a pharmacy were generics. That number has now risen to about 70 percent.
The major difference between a brand name and generic drug isn't the ingredients...it's the cost.
Lipitor is used to help lower cholesterol, and the generic for it won't come out until the end of this year. So if you buy Lipitor now, a 30-day supply can cost around $100.
And there are hundreds of other examples, like Advil. One supermarket had it priced at $10.55. The generic version right next to it costs just $5.99, saving consumers $4.56.
For typical generic co-pay, explains Hannahville Health Center pharmacist, Aaron Young, Five dollars or $10 is pretty standard now. Brand name co-pays can be anywhere from $10 to $20."
Choosing generic or name brand really boils down to personal choice.
Well, you know, I don't really think there's a big attraction to name brands. Actually right now, about 99 percent of people who get prescriptions filled and there's a generic available, they actually do go with the generic medication, Young said.
George Reimer switched to a generic blood pressure medication after his insurance company stopped paying for the brand name.
I don't have a bit of trouble with it, said Reimer. In fact, I think it works better, and it's a generic. It costs me four dollars a month, so I like that. These brand name drugs, we're just being ripped off, that's all."
He said his wife still prefers brand name.
She TMs just used to it and she wants to have her way," Reimer said.
A difference in inactive ingredients can also cause generics to be a different color. But other than color and labeling, Young says generics are ultimately cheaper and just as effective as name brand.