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  • Dave Kinzer

How To Save Money On Medicine

Updated: Aug 8, 2020

In this current economic climate, people are trying to save money every way they can. One easy way to do this is to buy generic medicine.

I know what you’re thinking: “I’m not putting some generic drug in my body. I’ve got these awful symptoms and I’ll only take the real stuff because it’s the best!”

According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s website, there’s no need to worry about the quality of generics. It states that generic drugs are created and approved to be the same as the brand-name drug in “dosage form, safety, strength, route of administration, quality, performance characteristics, and intended use”. It goes on to say that “generic medicine works in the same way and provides the same clinical benefit as its brand-name version”.

Still not convinced? The FDA has established a Generic Drugs Program that continually monitors the drugs even after they’ve been brought to market to make sure they’re safe. This includes over 3,500 inspections of manufacturing plants each year.

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So how much can you really save though? The amount might surprise you.

I compared several popular over the counter brand-name drugs with their generic counterpart. To avoid comparing apples to oranges, I only compared prices if I could find medicine that was in the same form (caplet, spray, pill, etc.) and in the same dosage.

Let’s start with a general pain reliever since everyone uses those at some point.

A 200 count bottle of Advil (200 mg) will cost you around $14.97. If you buy a generic bottle of Advil (Ibuprofen), you can expect to pay around $7.72. That’s almost half price. Nice! But it gets better. That same bottle you pay $7.72 for has 500 tablets while the more expensive Advil only has 200 tablets.

Getting more than twice as much medicine for approximately half price is a deal you shouldn’t pass up.

Gearing up for another season of allergies? If you use Zyrtec, you can get 70 tablets (10 mg) for $34.94, or you could get 300 generic tablets for $33.00. You’ll only save $1.94, but you’ll get more than four times the amount of medicine.

Another way to figure your savings is to add up how much it would cost to buy 300 Zyrtec tablets. Since Zyrtec tablets cost around fifty cents each, if you bought 300 over time, you would spend $150. Buying the 300 generic tablets for only $33 saves you $117.

There are so many opportunities to save on meds if you simply compare prices and quantities. Nexium (42 ct., 20 mg) costs $23.68, while its generic version only costs $14.97. Two hundred Bayer tablets will cost $9.84, while 500 generic pills will cost only $3.64. A sixty day supply of Zaditor eye drops cost $22.96, while the generic eye drops cost only $8.96.

A 24 liquicap DayQuil/NyQuil combo pack costs $9.99, while a generic combo pack with twice the number of softgels will cost only $8.39. You can get 36 Sudafed PE tablets for $9.99, or the generic version for $5.99. A one-ounce tube of Neosporin antibiotic ointment costs $9.47, while the generic cream costs $3.55.

This list isn’t even close to exhaustive. There are dozens more drugs with generic options.

A lot of stores with pharmacies have their own generic label for medicine. Walmart’s generic label is Equate, Target’s is Up & Up, and CVS Pharmacy is CVS Health. Walgreen will add “Wal” to the beginning of the name of the drug for their generic line. For example, Walgreen’s generic Zyrtec is called “Wal-Zyr”.

If you’re the least bit unsure as to whether you should take generic medicine, talk to your doctor. But according to the FDA, generic meds are safe. They are reliable. They are effective. And they certainly are cheaper.

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