Saving Money on Prescriptions
As nationwide healthcare costs continue to rise, we’re all looking for ways to keep our own costs down. One easy way that you may be able to save money is to use generic medications instead of brand name.
If you have medical coverage through Penn, your prescription benefits are covered through Caremark. Each time you fill a prescription, you could save $10, $20 or more by asking for a generic drug instead of the brand name version. When you purchase a brand name drug, you’re paying 30 percent of the cost of that drug. However, the generic version of the same drug will only cost you 10 percent…and generic medicines cost less to begin with! So you’re paying a lower percentage on a lower cost. That could add up to big savings in just a short time.
Generic medicines cost less because their manufacturers don’t have to spend the hundreds of millions of dollars it takes to discover the new, original drug. The original brand manufacturer has already made those investments. Therefore, it costs the generic manufacturer much less to develop the same medicine. In addition, generic manufacturers aren’t putting out the huge amounts of advertising dollars that brand manufacturers spend. All those savings are passed on to you.
And, like brand name medicines, generic drugs are rigorously tested and approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) before they can be sold. In fact, manufacturers must prove that generic medicines work exactly like their brand name equivalents. A generic drug is the same as its brand name counterpart in: effectiveness (how well it works), safety, active ingredients, performance (how it works in the body), strength (e.g., 10 mg, 20 mg), and dosage form (pill, liquid, cream, etc.). So, you get the exact same FDA-approved medicine at a lower cost.
To obtain a generic prescription, you can:
• Ask your doctor to prescribe generics or write “may substitute” on your prescriptions.
• Say “yes” if your pharmacist asks if you would like the generic equivalent for the drug prescribed.
• Go to www.caremark.com/countongenerics to see if a generic is available for a drug you are currently taking or considering, and find out how much you can save on generics.
If you have any questions, please call Caremark at 1-800-378-0802.
— Division of Human Resources
Almanac, Vol. 51, No. 18, January 25, 2005
January 25, 2005
Volume 51 Number 18