Harvard Heart Letter

Heart Beat: Searching for dollar-saving generics

Heart Beat

Searching for dollar-saving generics

Drug costs take a big bite out of the pocketbook for many people with heart disease. One way to cut costs is by using generic drugs when possible. Generics are just as good as brand-name drugs "" by law they must contain the same active ingredients; be as strong, pure, and stable; and meet the same FDA quality and safety standards. The main differences are in how they look and what you pay for them.

One FDA study of blood pressure medicines showed a 50% saving by using generics. You can save more with some generic drugs, less with others.

Unfortunately, finding out whether generic versions exist for the brand-name drugs that you take isn't always a snap. Doctors don't necessarily know which medications are available as generics. Pharmacists are a better source of reliable information. Just ask next time you pick up a medication.

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