Save Money with Generic Medication

The average cost of a generic drug is only 25% of its brand-name equivalent.

If you have used your company health plan for prescription medication, you know just how valuable that benefit can be. In fact, 83% of plan members surveyed consider their drug plan to be their most important company benefit.Disclaimer1

While employers are aware of the value of drug plans, increasing claims are costing organizations a significant amount of money. As a result, employers and employees alike are feeling the financial impact of rising claims costs, which brand-name medication can contribute to.

What you can do

One easy way that you can help control costs for yourself and your drug plan is to choose generic drugs instead of their brand-name equivalents. For example, the next time you need a prescription, ask your doctor to prescribe a generic alternative. You can also ask your pharmacist if there is a lower-cost generic drug available.

Here are 6 things you may not know about generic drugs:

  1. The average cost of a generic drug is only 25% of its brand-name equivalent.
  2. A generic drug is essentially a copy of a brand-name drug whose patent has expired. To be approved by Health Canada, a generic drug must have the same quality, purity, effectiveness and safety as the brand-name drug.
  3. Generic drugs must contain the same amount of medicinal ingredients as their brand-name equivalent. A generic's non-medicinal ingredients, however, such as fillers and ingredients that colour the drug, may be different from its brand-name counterpart (which is why they sometimes look different).
  4. Because generic drug manufacturers are producing a virtually identical drug—without having to invest in research and development—the generic drug is considerably less expensive than the brand-name version.
  5. Many drug plans only cover the lowest cost drug available. If your plan operates this way, choosing the brand-name drug would require you to pay the difference between the cost of the brand-name and generic version.
  6. Generic drugs are used to fill over 40% of all prescriptions in Canada.Disclaimer2

Sanofi Canada Healthcare Survey 2014.
Canadian Generic Pharmaceutical Association (CGPA):