The Clinical Corner – Generic vs. Brand Name Medications

March 7, 2023

Hello everyone!

I hope you’ve been enjoying the warmer weather and sunnier days. In this edition of The Clinical Corner, we’ll be tackling a question asked by healthcare providers and family members alike:

“Is there a difference between generic and brand name medications?”

We hear this question often – and as caregivers, it’s a question we might often ask ourselves. Is generic the way to go? Should we pay the extra money to get the brand name? To answer this question, I sat down with our Chief Medical Officer, Dr. McNamara, for more insight as to which option might work best for you. Here’s what he had to say:

“Most of us have heard the terms “generic” and “brand name” mediations. For example – Tylenol is the brand name for acetaminophen, a generic medication. As I gained experience as a physician, I learned and counseled my patients to always take generics when available due to significant cost differences with equivalent therapeutic effect.

First – always remember that your pharmacist is an invaluable member of your care team. They can help you understand which medications you should buy over the counter. They can also help you ask at the point of sale if there is a generic alternative to the medication your provider prescribed.

The time to ask questions about your medications is when your provider recommends a medication for you. Most providers will give you a visit summary with information of the medication they are recommending.”

***In this article, you’ll find that the FDA reports that medication ingredients are the same in generic as they are in name brand.

 It typically takes upwards of 15 years from the time a research study begins to when the drug is approved. This is why drug manufacturers typically impose high costs – to make the money back on the expenses accrued over the course of their research.

When looking at medication options, always remember that all medications should be taken as directed by your provider. And just as Dr. McNamara noted, when in doubt, your pharmacist and provider will always be your greatest asset! Also – don’t forget that our Assisted Living care team is here to help you or your loved one with medication assistance.

Have a great month,

-Rhonda Dempsey, Chief Nursing Officer

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