SPONSORED AND PAID FOR BY CVS PHARMACY
The average brand-name drug costs 70% more than its generic counterpart. The question is, is it even worth it?
Most of us tend to judge a book by its cover. Yet it's widely agreed upon that the cover doesn't always reflect the content. Can the same logic be applied to medication?
Active ingredient lists show that yes, the same logic can be applied. People often opt for name-brand rather than generic medication, despite the sometimes drastic price difference. What many don't realize is that name-brand versions of generic drugs have identical active-ingredient lists.
Take cold and cough medicine as an example. Children's Triaminic Night Time Cold & Cough Syrup has two active ingredients: 6.25 mg of Diphenydramine HCI and 2.5 mg of Phenylephrine HCI. Its generic equivalent, CVS Children's Cold & Cough Nighttime Liquid, has the same amount of the same two active ingredients. Yet, the CVS brand medication costs 30% less than the Triaminic. This seemingly arbitrary price difference is a consistent pattern between generic and name-brand drugs. Zyrtec, a popular allergy medication, has an identical active-ingredients list to that of CVS-brand allergy medication. However, similarly to the Triaminic vs. CVS-brand cold and cough medication, the CVS allergy medication costs 25% less than Zyrtec.
In the case of prescription drugs, the price difference grows more drastic. The average generic prescription drug costs 80% less than the brand-name version of the same drug. Yet people continue to purchase the brand-name medication over the cheaper generic version.
Brand-name drugs do not contain better active ingredients than their generic counterparts. In fact, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, or the FDA, requires that generic drugs have the same active ingredient, strength, dosage form, and route of administration as the brand-name product. The FDA has also published a study evaluating the results of 38 clinical trials that compared cardiovascular generic drugs to their brand-name counterparts. According to the FDA, there was "no evidence that brand name heart drugs worked any better than generic heart drugs".