Generic VS Brand Battle

Do you go to the doctor and ask for generic medications? Do you ask for medications off of the $4 list? Do you ask for the newest medicine? Do you ask for whatever will work the best? Do you even voice an opinion or do you just fill whatever prescription your health care provider hands you? Often times I think patients, pharmacists, nurses and healthcare providers think that generic medications are the same as their brand name counter parts. Often times they are similar but they aren’t the same. Simply said, generic medications are older medicines that have been around awhile and brand name medications are either a brand new medication altogether or a newer, supposedly improved older medication. Here are some reasons you might be prescribed brand name medications other than for you to spend a lot of money on medicine.

1. There isn’t a generic option. Some new medications don’t have a generic counter part. One of my favorite medications for Rosacea is called Soolantra and there isn’t a generic version. Sometimes if you want the latest and the greatest….. well what’s the saying? “You gotta pay to play”.

2. The brand name is cheaper for the patient. Weird right? Sometimes, for the patient, the generic version is more expensive than the brand name version with the coupon provided by the company. For example, a pill we use a lot in dermatology called Oracea has a generic option. The generic according to goodrx at Walgreens is $681 but the brand name, with a coupon, (with the right health insurance) is no more than $25. Weird huh?

3. The generic and the brand name are not created equal. For example, if you had stomach upset with generic doxycycline (an antibiotic known for stomach upset) then there is an alternative extended release doxycycline called Doryx or Acticlate that claims it doesn’t cause stomach upset. You may be able to take the brand name without any problems.

4. Samples. Have you ever been to the doctor and received a sample of a medication to use until you can get your prescription filled. Or maybe to try it out before you paid for a full prescription, make sure it did the job? Well that was always a brand name medication. Generic medications do not have samples given to health care providers. Brand name samples can be a blessing to a patient.

I’m all about saving a buck, I don’t want to spend money on my medications that could go towards my kids vacation or something way cooler. Sometimes we have to choose what medications we use based on price but more often than not, as healthcare providers, we are just choosing your medication based on what we think is best for your condition. The cost of healthcare is a hot topic and sensitive to some. We don’t live in a perfect world. As always, I want to work together with my patients for us to choose the best medication for your condition. I hope we achieve your skin goals cost effectively, together. It makes me smile when patients’ beautiful insides can shine through their skin!

“Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence.” -Vince Lombardi

Stay Skintastic, Hope to see you all at the clinic this amazing August, Nina


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