Given that they are safe, effective and cheaper than brand-name drugs, people may want to use generics and make sure their doctor and pharmacist provide the option. Here are a few suggestions:
l Ask your doctor whether a drug he’s prescribing exists in a generic form and what the price difference is. Don’t wait until you reach the pharmacy and experience sticker shock.
l If your drug does not have a generic equivalent, ask your doctor if you can take another medication in the same class that does have a generic form.
l Note that a pharmacist may give you a generic drug instead of a brand-name, unless your prescription says “no substitutions” or “Dispense as Written.”
l Search the FDA’s Orange Book, a list of all approved generic drugs: www.accessdata.
l If you switch drugs — generic to brand-name or brand-name to generic — and suspect that doing so has produced side effects, you can report them to the FDA’s MedWatch program: https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/
l Whether you are taking brand-name medications or generics, always take the drugs as prescribed.
l Check out the Consumer Reports Best Buy Drugs report and database: www.