If you take medicine you’ve probably taken a generic drug. The reason is that most prescriptions are filled with generic drugs. I personally take 3 medications and they are all generics. Generic drugs work just like brand name drugs but the main difference is that generics can save you a TON of money.
Are Generic Drugs Safe? Many people ask that question. The answer is Yes. Generic drugs are basically just copies of the brand name drug. Generics have exactly the same amount of active drug as the brand name and the generic drug company has to PROVE that their drug will work just like the brand name and that the ingredients are safe. There are some differences between generic and brand name drugs such as shape, color and inert (inactive) ingredients.
There are very stringent rules that generic companies must follow to make sure their drugs are safe and effective. Generics are required to pass the same quality checks as brand-name drugs. Any problems with generic or brand name drugs will be investigated by the FDA to make sure they are safe.
What about the contaminated drugs in the news lately? Small amounts of certain chemicals (like NDMA) have been found in both brand name and generic drugs used for heartburn and blood pressure. These contaminants came from raw drug imported to the US from other countries. All medications testing positive for these contaminants have been removed from the US market. Don’t hesitate to contact your pharmacist with questions about the safety of any medication you may be taking.
Its always a good idea to call your pharmacist if:
- Your pills are a different color or shape than before.
- You don’t feel your medication is working like it did before.
- If you’re having problems with your drug. Sometimes patients may be sensitive to the inactive ingredients in medications like binders or coloring agents.
Don’t stop taking your medication without first speaking with your prescriber or pharmacist. If you need to stop a medication your pharmacist can work with your prescriber to find a good alternative.
Bottom Line: Generic drugs are safe and effective and provide the same health benefits as brand name drugs but they cost a lot less!
Box Butte County native Tim Kotschwar has been a pharmacist since 1988 practicing in a variety of pharmacy settings. Retail pharmacy has been Tim’s area of practice since 2001 and prior to 2018 he had been with Shopko pharmacy In Alliance. Late in 2017 when he realized Shopko was going out of business, Tim recognized the need for an independent pharmacy to serve Alliance and surrounding communities. With a great deal of local support Alliance Community Pharmacy opened its doors in June of 2018 in a small building at 315 Box Butte Avenue in Alliance.