The ABCs of Generic Drugs: Approved, Beneficial and Cost Effective

It’s no secret that some prescription drugs can be expensive. But the good news is that generic drugs, when available, can save as much as 85% compared to brand name options.[1] Not sure about generic medications? To help put your mind at ease, we spell out the ABCs of generic medications.



Generic drugs are medications that are created to be the same as already approved brand name drugs. Before they can be made available, generics must be subjected to the same approval process as brand name medications by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA). This process helps ensure that the medications are as safe as the brand name drugs.



In addition, makers of generic drugs must prove that their generic options can provide the same clinical benefit as the medicines they copy and must:

  • Contain the same active ingredient and acceptable inactive ingredients
  • Have the same strength, use indications, form (such as a tablet or cream), and method of administration (such as oral or topical)
  • Be manufactured under the same strict standards as the brand name medicine


Cost Effective

Because generic drugs must be proven to offer the same results as the brand name versions, generics can provide effective treatment for many health conditions for a fraction of the cost. They’re not available for all brand name drugs because new brand name drugs are usually protected by patents for a period of time. Once that time has passed, generic equivalents can be produced without having to repeat all the costly research and testing, which usually enables drug makers to sell their generic yet equally safe and effective wares for much lower prices.

So if you’re taking prescription medications, be sure to always ask your doctor if generic options are available. You can also compare pricing and look for affordable generic alternatives using the PRICE DRUGS option at


[1] U.S. Food & Drug Administration (2018). Generic Drug Facts.


S7694_21-6622_enewsletter 2021_C Reviewed 10/22/21

Elixir Insurance is a Prescription Drug Plan with a Medicare contract. Enrollment in Elixir Insurance depends on contract renewal. For more information, please call our customer service number at 833-684-7267. TTY users call 711. We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. ATTENTION: If you speak Spanish, language assistance services, free of charge, are available to you. Call 833-684-7267 (TTY: 711). ATENCIÓN: si habla Español, los servicios de asistencia lingüística, sin cargo, están disponibles para usted. Llamada 833-684-7267 (TTY: 711).

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Topics: Pharmacy Network, Part D Prescription Drugs, Elixir Insurance, Pharmacies, Helpful Tips

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