Harvard Men's Health Watch

The cost of generic and name-brand drugs

More prescription medications now come in generic versions. But do you ever choose savings over quality?

generic and name-brand-drugs
Image: AlonsoAguilar /Thinkstock

Medication can be an unpredictable and costly expense. Whether it is short-term treatment or multiple drugs you take indefinitely, prescriptions can have a serious impact on your wallet.

Nowadays there are many generic versions of brand-name drugs that are often significantly less expensive. There are generic drugs to treat most common ailments, such as pain, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, asthma, and depression.

The advantage of generics is the obvious cost savings, but they also play a larger role in medical treatment, says Dr. Niteesh K. Choudhry, a researcher with the division of pharmacoepidemiology and pharmacoeconomics at Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women's Hospital. "The lower cost can make it easier for people to continue to take their medications as intended," he says. "Higher costs can force people to stop taking their medication after a while, or even not begin treatment."

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