Buy generic drugs and save

How to save money on your prescription medication.
 
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01 .What are generic drugs?

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  • A generic drug is a copy of a branded drug. It's chemically equivalent to its branded counterpart but usually costs less.
  • Generic drugs must meet the same standards of quality and safety as branded drugs.
  • Some generic drugs may look different to their branded equivalent because they have different colourings and binding agents but the active ingredient used is the same.
  • They're safe for most people and conditions. Check the table below to see if a generic alternative is available for your medication.
  • Not all drugs have a generic equivalent. Newly developed medicines are protected by a patent, typically for 20 years. Only when this runs out can generic versions be produced.
  • Generic drugs are cheaper than branded drugs because the manufacturers don't have to spend the same amount of money on research and development.

Please note: this information was current as of November 2008 but is still a useful guide today.


Popular prescription drugs and their generic alternatives

Brand versus generic alternative
Brand
Generic alternative
What can you save?
ACTONEL ONCE-A-WEEK
NONE
AMOXIL cap 500mg
ALPHAMOX 500 ,AMOHEXAL, AMOXYCILLIN – DP, CHEM MART AMOXYCILLIN, CILAMOX, GENRX AMOXYCILLIN, MOXACIN, TERRY WHITE CHEMISTS AMOXYCILLIN
0.80
AROPAX
CHEM MART PAROXETINE, EXTINE 20, GENRX PAROXETINE, PAROXETINE 20, PAROXETINE-DP, PAROXETINE SANDOZ, PAROXETINE WINTHROP, PAXTINE, TERRY WHITE CHEMISTS PAROXETINE
0.86
ASTRIX tab 100mg
DBL ASPIRIN 100mg
1.36
ATACAND
NONE
ATACAND PLUS 16/12.5
NONE
AUGMENTIN DUO FORTE
CURAM 875/125, GA-AMCLAV FORTE 875/125, GENRX AMOXYCILLIN & CLAVULANIC ACID, MOXICLAV DUO FORTE 875/125,TERRY WHITE CHEMISTS AMOXYCILLIN & CLAVULANIC ACID
2.04
AVANZA tab 30mg
AXIT 30, CHEM MART MIRTAZAPINE, GENRX MIRTAZAPINE, MIRTAZAPINE-DP, MIRTAZAPINE SANDOZ, MIRTAZON, TERRY WHITE CHEMISTS MIRTAZAPINE
1.70
AVAPRO
NONE
BETALOC tab 50mg
CHEM MART METOPROLOL, GENRX METOPROLOL, METOHEXAL, METOLOL, METROL 50, MINAX 50, TERRY WHITE CHEMIST METOPROLOL
2.54
CELEBREX
NONE
CHLOROMYCETIN
NONE
CHLORSIG
NONE
CIPRAMIL tab 20mg (base)
CELAPRAM, CELICA, CHEM MART CITALOPRAM, CIAZIL, CITALOBELL, CITALOPRAM 20, CITALOPRAM WINTHROP, GENRX CITALOPRAM, TALAM, TALOHEXAL, TERRY WHITE CHEMISTS CITALOPRAM
3.49
COUMADIN
NONE
COVERSYL
NONE
DIABEX tab 1g
DIAFORMIN 1000, FORMET 1000, GLUCOHEXAL
1.41
DIAMICRON tab 80mg
CHEM MART GLICLAZIDE, GENRX GLICLAZIDE, GLYADE, MELLIHEXAL, NIDEM, TERRY WHITE CHEMISTS GLICLAZIDE
2.03
DUCENE tab 5mg
ANTENEX 5, DIAZEPAM – DP, RANZEPAM, VALPAM 5
0.63
EFEXOR-XR
NONE
EZETROLE tab 10mg
NONE
FOSAMAX (once weekly) tab 70mg
ADRONAT, ALENDROBELL 70mg, ALENDRONATE SANDOZ, ALENDRO ONCE WEEKLY, APO-ALENDRONATE, CHEM MART ALENDRONATE 70mg, OSSMAX 70mg,TERRY WHITE CHEMISTS ALENDRONATE 70mg
1.42
GLUCOPHAGE/DIABEX tab 500mg
CHEM MART METFORMIN, DIAFORMIN, FORMET 500, GENRX METFORMIN, GLUCOHEXAL, GLUCOMET 500mg, METFORMIN 500, METFORMIN GENERICHEALTH, METFORBELL, TERRY WHITE CHEMISTS METFORMIN, GN BRAND
1.10/1.40
IMDUR DURULE tab 60mg (sustained release)
CHEM MART ISOSORBIDE MONONITRATE, DURIDE, GENRX ISOSORBIDE MONONITRATE, IMTRATE 60mg, ISOMONIT, MONODUR 60mg, TERRY WHITE CHEMISTS ISOSORBIDE MONONITRATE
2.22
ISCOVER
NONE
ISOPTIN SR tab 240mg (sustained release)
ANPEC SR, CORDILOX SR
2.26
KARVEA
NONE
KARVEZIDE
NONE
KEFLEX
IBILEX 500, RANCEF, SPORAHEXAL, TERRY WHITE CHEMISTS CEPHALEXIN
2.23
LASIX
UREX, CHEM MART FRUSEMIDE, FRUSEHEXAL 40mg, FRUSID, GENRX FRUSEMIDE, TERRY WHITE CHEMISTS FRUSEMIDE, UREMIDE
No price premium but has generic equivalent
LIPEX 10mg
CHEM MART SIMVASTATIN, GENRX SIMVASTATIN, RANSIM, SIMVABELL, SIMVAHEXAL, SIMVAR 10, SIMVASTATIN – DP, SIMVASTATIN GENERICHEALTH, SIMVASTATIN WINTHROP, SIMVASYN, SIMVATRUST 10, TERRY WHITE CHEMISTS SIMVASTATIN, ZIMSTAT, GN BRAND
1.05
LIPITOR
NONE
LOPRESOR 50 tab 50mg
CHEM MART METOPROLOL, GENRX METOPROLOL, METOHEXAL, METOLOL, METROL 50, MINAX 50, TERRY WHITE CHEMIST METOPROLOL
2.35
LOSEC
GENRX OMEPRAZOLE, MEPRAZOL, OMEPRAZOLE-GA, OMEPRAZOLE RANBAXY, OMERPRAZOLE WINTHROP, ACIMAX TABLETS, OMEPRAL
2.15
MAREVAN
NONE
MAXOLON tab 10mg
PRAMIN
3.01
MICARDIS
NONE
MICROGYNON 30ED 21 tab 150ug/30ug & 7 inert tablets
LEVLEN ED, MONOFEME 28
11.45
MOBIC tab 15mg
CHEM MART MELOXICAM 15MG, GENRX MELOXICAM, MELOXIBELL, MELOXICAM-GA, MELOXICAM RANBAXY, MELOXICAM SANDOZ, MELOXICAM WINTHROP, MOVALIS 15, MOXICAM 15, PHARMACOR MELOXICAM 15, TERRY WHITE CHEMISTS MELOXICAM 15mg
1.63
MOGADON tab 5mg
ALODORM
1.53
NEXIUM
NONE
NORDETTE 28 21 tab 150ug/30ug & 7 inert tab
LEVLEN ED, MONOFEME 28
11.78
NORMISON tab 10mg 25
TEMAZE, TEMTABS
1.38
NORVASC tab 5/10 mg (as besylate)
AMLODIPINE-GA, AMLODIPINE GENERICHEALTH, AMLODIPINE SANDOZ, APO-AMLODIPINE, CHEM MART AMLODIPINE, PERIVASC, TERRY WHITE CHEMISTS AMLODIPINE
3.05/4.45
PANADEINE FORTE 30mg-500mg 20tab
CODALGIN FORTE, CODAPANE FORTE, COMFAROL FORTE, DOLAFORTE, PRODEINE FORTE
1.43
PANADEINE FORTE 30mg-500mg 60tab
CODALGIN FORTE, CODAPANE FORTE, COMFAROL FORTE, DOLAFORTE, PRODEINE FORTE
4.29
PARACETAMOL
CHEM MART CHEMADOL, DYMADON P, FEBRIDOL, PANAMAX, PARACETAMOL SANDOZ, PARALGIN, PHARMACY CHOICE PARACETAMOL, TERRY WHITE CHEMISTS PARACETAMOL
No price premium but has generic equivalent
PARIET
NONE
PLAVIX
NONE
PLENDIL ER tab 5/10mg (extended release)
FELODIL XR 5/10, FELODUR ER 5/10mg
3.92
PRAVACHOL tab 40mg
CHEM MART PRAVASTATIN,CHOLSTAT 40, GENRX PRAVASTATIN, LIPOSTAT 40, LIPRACHOL, PRAVASTATIN 40, PRAVASTATIN-DP, PRAVASTATIN WINTHROP, TERRY WHITE CHEMISTS PRAVASTATIN, VASTORAN
3.07
PROZAC cap 20mg (base)
AUSCAP, CHEM MART FLUOXETINE, FLUOHEXAL, FLUOXEBELL, FLUOXETINE 20, FLUOXETINE – DP, GENRX FLUOXETINE, LOVAN, TERRY WHITE CHEMISTS FLUOXETINE, ZACTIN
4.13
RULIDE tab 150/300mg
BIAXSIG, ROXAR 150/300, ROXIDE, ROXIMYCIN
1.89
SEREPAX tab 30mg
ALEPAM 30, MURELAX
1.90
SERETIDE ACCUHALER 250/50
NONE
SERETIDE ACCUHALER 500/50
NONE
SERETIDE MDI 250/25
NONE
SOLONE

PANAFCORTELONE
No price premium but has generic equivalent
SOMAC
NONE
SPIRIVA
NONE
STEMETIL tab 5mg
STEMZINE
2.16
SYMBICORT TURBUHALER 200/6 (120 doses)
NONE
TEARS NATURALE ( 0.3%-0.1%)
POLY-TEARS
1.67
TENORMIN tab 50mg
ANSELOL 50mg, ATEHEXAL, CHEM MART ATENOLOL, GENRX ATENOLOL, NOTEN, TENSIG, TERRY WHITE CHEMISTS ATENOLOL
2.79
TRAMAL cap 50mg
CHEM MART TRAMADOL, GENRX TRAMADOL, TERRY WHITE CHEMISTS TRAMADOL, TRAMEDO, ZYDOL
2.42
TRIPRIM tab 300mg
ALPRIM
1.03
TRITACE or RAMACE

PRILACE 5, TRYZAN TABS 5, RAMIPRIL SANDOZ, RAMIPRIL WINTHROP, TRITACE
No price premium but has generic equivalent
VALIUM tab 5mg
ANTENEX 5, DIAZEPAM – DP, RANZEPAM, VALPAM 5
0.88
VASOCARDOL CD
CARDIZEM CD, CHEM MART DILTIAZEM CD, DILTAHEXAL CD, DILZEM CD, GENRX DILTIAZEM CD, TERRY WHITE CHEMISTS DILTIAZEM CD
No price premium but has generic equivalent
VENTOLIN CFC FREE oral inhaler 100ug
AIROMIR, ASMOL CFC-FREE, EPAQ
1.18
VENTOLIN NEBULES
GENRX SALBUTAMOL, PHARMACOR SALBUTAMOL 5, SALBUTAMOL-GA, SALBUTAMOL SANDOZ, TERRY WHITE CHEMISTS SALBUTAMOL
1.46
VOLTAREN tab 50mg (enteric coated)
CHEM MART DICLOFENAC, CLONAC 50, DICLOHEXAL, DINAC, FENAC, GENRX DICLOFENAC, TERRY WHITE CHEMISTS DICLOFENAC
1.96
XALATAN
NONE
ZANIDIP
NONE
ZANTAC 150mg (base)
AUSRAN, CHEM MART RANITIDINE, GENRX RANITIDINE, RANI 2, RANIHEXAL , RANOXYL, TERRY WHITE CHEMISTS RANITIDINE, ULCAID
1.71
ZOCOR 10mg
CHEM MART SIMVASTATIN, GENRX SIMVASTATIN, RANSIM, SIMVABELL, SIMVAHEXAL, SIMVAR 10, SIMVASTATIN – DP, SIMVASTATIN GENERICHEALTH, SIMVASTATIN WINTHROP, SIMVASYN, SIMVATRUST 10, TERRY WHITE CHEMISTS SIMVASTATIN, ZIMSTAT, GN BRAND
1.05
ZOLOFT 100mg (base)
CHEM MART SERTRALINE, CONCORZ, ELEVA 100, GENRX SERTRALINE, SERTRA 100, SERTRALINE 100, SERTRALINE -DP, SERTRALINE GENERICHEALTH, SERTRALINE WINTHROP, SERTRATRUST, SETRONA, TERRY WHITE CHEMISTS SERTRALINE, XYDEP 100
0.41
ZOTON
NONE
ZYLOPRIM tab 300mg
ALLOHEXAL, ALLOSIG, CHEM MART ALLOPURINOL, GENRX ALLOPURINOL, PROGOUT 300, TERRY WHITE CHEMISTS ALLOPURINOL
1.80

Want to know more?


For more information see the CHOICE book on medicinal drugs

 
 

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02.Saving money with generic drugs

 

Generic medicines are said to be bio-equivalent to their branded counterparts. They contain the same amount of the same active ingredient as the branded drug and are as effective and safe.

What medicines are available?

Not all branded drugs have a generic equivalent. That’s because newly developed medicines are protected by a patent typically for 20 years - meaning the original brand manufacturer has the sole right to sell the drug during that time. This allows the company to recoup money it invested in research and development, marketing, promotion and brand creation.

But when patents come close to expiry, other manufacturers can apply to the Government’s Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) for the right to sell competing generic drugs. These medications must meet the same quality and safety standards as their brand name equivalents, before they reach pharmacists’ shelves.

Start saving money

The majority of consumers and patients can safely and conveniently substitute generic drugs for branded medications, saving a lot of money in the process. In 2005, generic medicines accounted for 18% of the medicines dispensed under the PBS. Many more patents are set to expire over the next five years so we’re likely to see an increase in the number of generic alternatives available.

The government, through the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS), generally only subsidises up to the price of the lowest priced version of any particular medication (usually a generic if it's available). This means you may have to pay extra for more expensive brands. The difference in price is known as a ‘brand price premium’ and doesn’t count towards your safety net total.

Find out if you can save by buying generic:

  • When your doctor prescribes a drug, ask him or her whether there is a less expensive brand that might be suitable for your condition.
  • Ask your pharmacist to substitute a cheaper brand if possible. The pharmacist can do this, unless the doctor has marked the prescription ‘no substitution’.

Same medicine, different brands

You can also find out if a generic alternative to the medication you’re taking is available from the Department of Health and Ageing’s Schedule of Pharmaceutical Benefits. The Schedule is available online.

Type the name of your medicine into the search terms – either the brand name or the generic name. If there is a generic version available, you will get a list of brand names and their maximum prices. The listed ‘price to the consumer’ is what you will pay (or the price after PBS safety net/concession if you have a health care card). Some brands may be cheaper than others – these are the generic alternatives.

Tips to save money

  • Your doctor and pharmacist won’t be upset if you ask about a lower priced medicine. In most cases they will appreciate why you are asking and will be willing to discuss less expensive medicines options with you.
  • Always remember that if you switch from a brand to a generic form of medication, that you are replacing the brand with the generic. You must not take both the generic and the brand name medication at the same time.
  • The government only subsidises up to the price of the lowest priced brand. The ‘brand premium’ you pay on more expensive medicines doesn’t count towards meeting the government safety net. (If you’re a general patient your prescription costs will reduce to the concessional rate ($5.00) once you or your family have spent $1141.80 on medication in a calendar year. If you are a concession card holder your prescriptions are free once you or your family have spent $290.00 on medicines in a calendar year).
  •  If you need a lot of medicines you should keep good records. This will help you keep track of your medications and also help you to work out when you reach the safety net. Your pharmacist can give you a Prescription Record Form that they will fill in each time you get a prescription.
  • You can find out more about less expensive generic medications by phoning the Medicines Line on 1300 888 763 or by visiting the National Prescribing Service for more information.
  • You should always discuss any concerns you have with your medications with your pharmacist or doctor.




 

1. What are generic drugs?

A generic drug is a copy of a brand name drug. Generic drugs have the same active ingredients, same clinical effects and are manufactured to the same standard as their branded equivalents.

2. Why would I use generic drugs instead of branded drugs?

Simple — to save money! A generic drug contains the same active ingredient and attributes of the original branded drug, but costs less.

3. Are generic drugs as safe as brand-name drugs?

Yes, for most people and conditions it's safe to substitute a generic medication for a brand name medication. Generic drugs use the same active ingredients and work in the same way in our bodies as branded drugs and must meet the same standards as brand name drugs to ensure quality and effectiveness.

Generic medicines may contain different inactive substances such as fillers. Depending on the inactive substance, they may not be safe for people who are allergic to a particular inactive substance, such as gluten, lactose or preservatives. Adverse reactions to inactive substances are extremely rare. However, people with severe allergies need to check all medicines carefully before starting them by reading a Consumer Medicine Information (CMI) leaflet or talking to your doctor/pharmacist. This problem is not confined to generic medicines, original medicines also contain inactive substances which potentially may cause an allergic reaction.

4. Are generic drugs as strong as branded equivalents?

Yes. The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) requires that generic drugs have the same amount of the same active ingredient as branded drugs.

5. Do generic drugs take longer to work in the body?

No. Generic drugs work in just the same way and in the same time as branded drugs.

6. Does every brand-name drug have a generic equivalent?

No. New branded drugs are protected by patent for 20 years, giving the manufacturer the sole right to sell the drug. As patents expire, other manufacturers can market generic versions, after thorough assessment, monitoring and approval by the TGA.

7. If generic drugs are just as good as branded equivalents, why are they less expensive?

When a drug’s patent is about to expire, other manufacturers can apply to the TGA to produce a generic version of the drug containing the same active ingredients. Generic drug manufacturers don’t have to match the investment of companies developing new drugs and so can pass on their reduced costs in the form of lower prices to consumers.

8. Do brand-name and generic drugs look the same?

Not necessarily. While they contain the same active ingredients, other ‘inactive’ ingredients such as colouring or flavouring may differ.

9. Are brand-name drugs made in more modern facilities than generic drugs?

No. Both generic and brand-name drug facilities must meet the same standards of good manufacturing practices. Interestingly, many manufacturers of branded drugs also make generic drugs, copying other companies’ and even their own branded drugs, then selling them without the brand name.

10. Where can I find more information on generic drugs?

Contact your doctor or pharmacist for more information on generic drugs. These professionals should be happy to explain more about generic drugs and tell you if less expensive forms of medication are suitable for you.