Don’t assume generic drugs are a good deal

Don’t assume generic drugs are a good deal
October 11 01:00 2015

GENERIC DRUGS ARE supposed to save consumers a lot of money, and in most instances they do. According to the US Food and Drug Administration, a generic version of a prescription medicine is, on average, 80 to 85 percent cheaper than the brand-name equivalent. And, overall, generics prices have been falling while branded drugs keep getting more expensive. A recent AARP report found the retail cost of 280 popular generic medicines decreased by an average of 4 percent in 2013.

But puzzling increases in the price of some generics, punctuated by an uproar over the 5,000 percent rise in the cost of a 62-year-old pill to treat a parasitic infection, should serve as a consumer alert — don’t assume generic drugs are always a bargain. One example: A 100-pill bottle of albuterol sulfate, an asthma treatment, rose from $11 to $434 over just six months.

Such startling jumps highlight the need for the manufacturers of generics to be more forthcoming about how they price their products, especially since generics account for more than eight of every 10 prescriptions filled in the United States. The increases also beg for more investigation from outside the industry. Vermont senator and Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, along with Representative Elijah Cummings of Maryland, have been doing that for a while…

Read full story at The Boston Globe
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