Cutting Healthcare Costs Without Cutting Corners (Part 1)- Buy Generic

In these recessionary and inflationary times, there are strategies that can be taken to minimise expenditure related to health without compromising on accessibility and efficacy.

One method is to fill your prescriptions with generic drugs rather than branded ones. Simply put, this means buying medications which have completed their patent license (the ‘copyright period’ so to speak when the  company that discovered the drug has the sole right of production,usually ten years) from manufacturers other than the original company, the so-called generic manufacturers. This often brings tremendous cost-savings especially for those who are uninsured and have to pay out-of-pocket. The main reason generic drugs are cheaper is because the cost of research and development (R&D) is negated.

Plavix - an essential blood-thinner for many with heart disease

Indeed, the savings can be considerable. Take for instance the anticholesterol drug Zocor (chemical name simvastatin) whose patent rights expired in 2006 and the blood-thinner Plavix (clopidogrel) whose patent also expired recently. Both these drugs can be bought at up to 50% savings now that several generic manufacturers have commenced producing it.

The big disclaimer is that the generic drugs must be obtained from reputable generic manufacturers where their purity and efficacy are similar to the original. This is often measured via bioequivalent studies by reputable bodies such as the US FDA(Food and Drug Administration). Talk to your professional adviser and be guided accordingly.

As is often the case, there are many forgeries and low-end generics with doubtful bioequivalence available on the market – just check your spam email box to see the multitude on offer 😦   Caveat emptor!*

(*Latin for “let the buyer beware”)


One response

  1. Agreed, Doc.
    However, I have always wondered how those manufacturing the generic drugs know the exact formula since the original manufacturer will definitely not reveal such things to them.
    Thank you.
    Doctor2008: Once the patent of a drug has expired, its formula is no longer a secret and companies are legally allowed to manufacture it.

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