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The problem with generic medication; study examines generic drugs; When to opt for the brand-name; “Never Pay the First Bill”

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The problem with generic medication; study examines generic drugs; When to opt for the brand-name; “Never Pay the First Bill”

The vast majority of Americans who take prescription medications are on generic versions.

In the mid-1980s, the cost of prescription medication rose and Americans complained that the influence of “Big Pharma” overtook the nation’s drug supply. This prompted Congress to unanimously pass the Hatch-Waxman Act in 1984 which created a new regulatory track to make affordable generic drugs.

In recent years, the generic drug supply has been plagued with problems related to the lack of overseas factory oversight, shoddy manufacturing, and fraud. Additionally, America’s drug supply could be set up for critical shortages.

Guests:

Study examines generic drugs

Several studies show that common generics and brand-name medications are fairly equal in terms of effectiveness.

In 2019, a research team from Harvard Medical School, the United States Food and Drug Administration and the Harvard School of Public Health published a large study based on more than two million insurance claims representing 3.5 million patients for eight common drugs with the data derived from two national databases: Optum Clin informatics and Truven market scan, which houses information on all prescriptions filled in the US.

The drugs studied included medications for diabetes, hypertension, and depression and anxiety. The researchers concluded that the use of generics was associated with comparable clinical outcomes.

Guest: Dr. Rishi Desai, the study’s author. He works for the Division of Pharmacoepidemiology and Pharmacoeconomics at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston, Massachusetts.

When to opt for the brand-name

Consumers are often left wondering when they should worry about taking a generic drug and when to insist on brand-name medication. To answer listener questions, we welcomed Dr. Mike Schuh, Pharm D, MBA, PAPha, to discuss brand versus generic drugs and guide us as to how we should handle this issue at home.

“Never Pay the First Bill”

Investigative journalist Marshall Allen explains the best strategy for ensuring your medical bills are correct in his new book Never Pay the First Bill

What’s Health Got to Do with It? Associate Producer Katherine Hobbs can be reached at khobbs@wjct.org or on Twitter at @KatherineGHobbs.

Florida Roundup Associate Producer Katherine Hobbs can be reached at khobbs@wjct.org or on Twitter at @KatherineGHobbs.