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Health Tip: Using Generic Drugs

They're chemically equal to pricier brand names

(HealthDay News) -- As the cost of prescription drugs continues to soar, patients and doctors alike are turning to generic alternatives. But are they the same?

Yes, says the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Generics are chemically identical to their brand-name counterparts, and are equally safe and effective.

Like brand-name drugs, prescription generics must also be approved by the FDA.

Brand-name drugs are more expensive because the manufacturers must pay hefty fees for creating and patenting new drugs, says the FDA. A new drug is protected by patent for a number of years, but once that patent expires, other drugmakers are able to produce the bioequivalent generic at a lower cost.

If you're currently taking a brand-name prescription drug, ask your doctor or pharmacist about whether there's a generic alternative.

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