Generic drugs cut costs, not quality
rescription drugs account for the fastest
quality, strength, and purity. In fact, all FDA-
rise in healthcare spending in America.
approved generic drugs and their brand-name
The good news is that in many cases you
equivalents contain identical active ingredients.
can control these costs—without
affecting the quality of the medication you
The FDA assures that the same active ingredient
receive. Compare the cost of a brand-name drug
is used and requires testing to determine if the
to its generic alternative, and you might be
generic drug can be expected to produce the
surprised to see cost savings of up to 30 to 60
same effect in the body as the original brand-
percent with the generic.
name drug. In other words, the generic drug can
be expected to have the same effect in the body
Different names, same effectiveness
as the brand-name drug. No generic drug can be
Whenever a new drug is developed, it is
sold in the U.S. until it passes the FDA’s
assigned a brand name and a generic name. The
inspection and approval processes.
brand name is trademarked and can only be used
by the manufacturer that developed the drug.
The generic drug may look different or taste
Some well-known brand names include
different from the brand due to the inactive
(omeprazole, AstraZeneca) and
ingredients such as dyes, fillers, and binders.
(fluoxetine hydrochloride, Eli Lilly
These inactive ingredients, which also require
and Company). Generic names, such as
FDA approval, are used by generic and brand-
omeprazole and fluoxetine hydrochloride,
name manufacturers to add color and to prevent
describe the active ingredient of the product and
pills from breaking.
can be used by other manufacturers. The active
ingredient is the chemical that makes a drug
Lucent’s goal is to help all our employees and
retirees reduce their out-of-pocket healthcare
costs, and using generic equivalent drugs is one
Once the U.S. Food and Drug Administration
of the best methods. As an informed consumer,
(FDA) approves a new drug, the original
you can feel confident using generic drugs
manufacturer receives one or more patents that
instead of their brand-name equivalents, as long
can last up to 20 years. These patents give the
as your doctor feels they are appropriate for you.
manufacturer exclusive rights to make and sell
The next time you visit your doctor or
the drug for a specific period of time. To prevent
pharmacist, ask whether generic drugs might be
companies from having a never-ending
a good alternative for you. You can learn more
monopoly on a patented drug, the federal
about the safety and effectiveness of generic
government allows the manufacture and sale of
drugs online at the FDA’s Office of Generic
generic drug equivalents after patents expire.
Drugs’ website at
This invites competition, which almost always
results in lower prices.
Why pay more for the same drug?
If you trust FDA-approved brand-name drugs,
you can trust FDA-approved generic drugs as
well. All prescription drugs—brand name and
generics alike—must meet the same standards of