Harvard Health Letter

Generics vs. brand-name drugs? Go for generics, doctors' group urges

News Briefs

New guidelines from the American College of Physicians (ACP) urge doctors to prescribe generic medications whenever possible, rather than more expensive brand-name medications. The guidelines were published online Nov. 24, 2015, in Annals of Internal Medicine. An ACP committee, led by Harvard Medical School's Dr. Niteesh Choudhry, analyzed more than 2,500 studies and found that brand-name prescription medications are more likely to be prescribed, but not filled. The committee also observed that people do a better job of sticking to a medication regimen if they take generics, since the drugs are cheaper and people are more likely to get prescriptions filled. (If you're more likely to take a medication, you're more likely to get better.) Do generics work just as well? The committee found that the vast majority of the evidence showed generic drugs are as effective as brand-name medications when it comes to health outcomes. If your doctor prescribes a brand-name medication, ask if there's a generic that will do the same job and save you money.