Why Your Generic Prescription Could Be Killing You

Opting for a generic prescription might seem like the smart choice. After all, you seem to be getting the same drug, only at a fraction of the price. However, generic drugs aren’t always what they seem. You could be putting your health at risk by choosing the more inexpensive option. Discover here why generic drugs could be a dangerous choice, one that can have serious and long-term consequences.

Bioequivalence: Not an Exact Science

While the U.S. Food and Drug Administration oversees the production of generic drugs and ultimately approves their usage, the FDA also acknowledges that reproducing a brand-name drug isn’t always an easy undertaking. As a result, when you choose the generic option, you’re opting for a drug that is not the biologic equivalent of the brand-name drug.

Here’s how the creation of generic drugs works. The generic drug manufacturer, by law, is mandated to use the same active ingredient in the brand-name drug. However, the FDA gives some leeway regarding just how precise the use of that active ingredient must be. Rather than precisely replicating the makeup of the drug’s components, the FDA allows generic drug manufacturers to create a drug that contains up to 20% less of the active ingredient in the brand-name drug. As a result, your generic drug just might be 20% less effective than the brand name.

Furthermore, Katherine Eban of Fortune Magazine, reports that the FDA’s rules surrounding the drugs other ingredients are far more lax. So, while the generic drug you choose may have some portion of the same active ingredient in the name brand, it also may include other ingredients not found in the pricier prescription. Logic tells you that if you’re paying less for this drug, the ingredients are probably of a lesser quality.

The Impact of Generic Drugs

Simply put, the generic drug you pick up at your pharmacy probably isn’t the same makeup as the brand-name drug. As a result, the switch from a brand-name drug to a generic one can dramatically impact your health. For example, even when the brand-name drug and generic drug have the same amount of active ingredient, the rate at which this active ingredient is released into your body may vary. You might notice unexpected side effects and reduced efficacy of the drug as a result. Moreover, the less-regulated excipients, or other ingredients, may contribute to a host of side effects as well. In one startling example, individuals who took the brand-name antidepressant Wellbutrin XL reported extreme depression and suicidal thoughts when they switched to the generic drug, according to ABC News.

Choosing Health Insurance with Prescriptions in Mind

Your health insurance should give you the freedom to choose brand-name pharmaceuticals. While Tier 1 and Tier 2 generic prescriptions might result in a lower copay, they also might be less effective, bring with them more side effects, or, in a worst-case scenario, negatively impact your health. JibeHealth.com matches individuals with health insurance plans based on their needs.  JibeHealth http://www.jibehealth.com will match you with the right tier and identify health plans that meet your exact needs.  Tier 4 prescriptions include higher-priced, brand-name drugs. When choosing a health insurance plan, look closely at the prescription coverage to make sure you aren’t forced into opting for questionable generic alternatives. Maximize your health, and get matched with a plan that provides you access to Tier 4 brand-name drugs.