Generic Prescription Drugs Offer Seniors Huge Savings

Benistar’s Generic Prescription Drugs Offer Seniors Huge Savings

Without medical insurance, the cost of brand name prescription drugs can be quite overwhelming. Brand name medications offer no real benefit versus their generic alternatives. They are virtually the same thing. In order to gain approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), generic prescription drugs are required to have the same dosage form, strength, active ingredient, and route of administration as their brand-name counterparts. The manufacturers of generic drugs must also demonstrate that theirs drugs are absorbed at the same rate.

The only real difference between generic drugs and brand-name counterparts are the name, shape, color, and price. Generic drugs are usually just called by their chemical name, and U.S. trademark laws don’t allow generic drugs to look exactly like the brand-name version, so they’re usually designed slightly different. When they first hit the market, generic drugs are usually 10 to 30 percent cheaper than brand name versions, but by the end of the first year they’re out the price can drop by half. By the time the second and third year roll around, the price of a generic drug can drop by 70 to 90 percent.

Cost Difference

There is a major reason generic drugs are so much cheaper than their brand-name version, their manufacturers don’t face the enormous start-up costs that the original creators of the drug do. When a pharmaceutical company decides to create a new substance, it can spend millions of dollars during the research, development, and clinical testing phase. After that, if the FDA approves the drug, the pharmaceutical company needs to spend even more on marketing to get their name out to the healthcare industry and the general public. The total cost can hit the hundreds of millions by the time the drug makes it into the hands of consumers.

In an attempt to recoup on their investment, the makers of brand-name drugs charge a premium price, and are granted a 20-year patent protection, which means that no other company is allowed to make or sell their drug during that period of time. Once that 20 year time frame has passed, other companies can apply to the FDA to sell generic versions of these medications. Because the manufacturers of generic drugs don’t face the same research, development, and marketing costs as the original drug manufacturers, they can sell their products for much cheaper. On top of that, once a generic drug is approved there is greater competition for its production and sale, which helps to drive the price down. Nearly 8 in 10 prescriptions filled in the United States are for generic drugs, which saves generic drug consumers in the United States an average of $3 billion every week.


New Generics

Be on the look-out for new generics about to be available on the market. In 2014 and 2015 the patents on a wide variety of popular brand name drugs will expire and thus become available in their generic form, including Cymbalta, Lunesta, Celebrex, Copaxone, Actonel, Nexium, Exforge, Avodart, Abilify, Evista, Maxalt, Micardis, Twynata, Reneagel, and Xeloda. For more information, visit Community Catalyst, a national, nonprofit consumer advocacy organization that provides a list of the top 50 brand-name drugs and the dates when the generics should become available on their website.


Prescription drug costs can be financially crippling for seniors without medical insurance. Even Medicaid plans are often not enough to help ensure retirees are covered well into their golden years. An Employer Group Waiver Plan can help employers provide the proper medical insurance and prescription drug benefits their retirees need to stay healthy without breaking the bank.



Miller, J. T. (2014, September 10). Generic Drugs Offer Seniors Big Savings. Retrieved July 5th, 2017 from


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