GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOTV) — According to the American College of Physicians, every year more than $300 billion is spent on prescription medications in the United States.
The organization says this number could be significantly reduced if people swap out their name-brand medications for generics.
A recent survey by consumer reports says 33 percent of Americans are paying an average of $39 more out-of-pocket for their regular prescription medications each month, and 10 percent are paying as much as an extra $100.
Studies suggest the reason is because doctors prescribe name-brand drugs instead of generic pills.
In a recent study, The American College of Physicians examined how frequently generic drugs are overlooked in favor of brand-name drugs.
Looking at Medicare patients with diabetes, for example, researchers found that 23 to 45 percent of prescriptions were for brand-name drugs, even though identical generics were available.
Medicare, the study concludes, could save $1.4 billion dollars in diabetes medication alone by replacing the name-brand drug with the generic version.
Pharmacists suggest always compare brands for the lowest price, using coupons to knock off a couple of bucks.
When your doctor gives you a prescription – ask if there’s a generic available and whether it would work just as well for you.