Consumer Alert: Generic vs Name-Brand Prescription Drugs

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CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - Drug companies spend nearly six billion dollars to push their products. But they may not be the best ones available, especially if you're on a budget.

When you're sick you're focused on getting well. Few people ask the doctor how much that'll cost.  The sticker shock usually comes at the pharmacy.

Consumer Reports found only four percent of patients ever talk about the cost of medicine with their doctor.

John Santa with Consumer Reports said, "Patients to some degree need to have a heart to heart when cost is an issue.  It doesn't make much difference if they're not going to be able to afford the medicines that are prescribed."

Instead, Consumer Reports found patients are cutting corners: skipping doses, cutting pills in half, taking expired medicine, even sharing prescriptions. A few also spend less on groceries,  put off paying bills or apply for government help. Experts say asking for generics could save many patients a lot of money but the poll found almost half don't think they're safe or effective.

Kathleen Jaeger with Generic Pharmaceutical Association said, "FDA approves generic medicines, providing the same medicine, and ensuring that they are safe and effective for their intended use."

Consumer Reports has put together a guide so patients can compare popular drugs and generics and add up the potential savings.

How much you could save by switching to a Best Buy Drug.

The guide compares the cost of taking Consumer Reports Best Buy drugs with that of higher-priced branded medicines. As you'll see, making a switch could save you up to $275 a month, or over $3,000 a year. All prices are for a 30-day supply except as noted.

Low Cost Medications- Government Help

New state Rx programs that serve as clearinghouses for the more than 275 public and private prescription drug assistance programs that are available in the United States.

PhRMA has launched programs in six states, working with dozens of community and health organizations to aid patients find and apply for help with their prescription drug costs.

Rx for Ohio
Launch date: April 28, 2003
(877) 794-6446

NeedyMeds is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping people find assistance with prescription medication costs and other health supplies and programs.

On the NeedyMeds Web site, you can search for free or low-cost prescription medication programs by:

  • the brand-name or generic name of prescription medications
  • drug company name
  • state and local programs in your area

You have to apply for the program to be considered, and NeedyMeds provides a downloadable application on the Web site.

The Medicine Program
Developed for people who have no medical insurance, The Medicine Program assists patients with enrolling in one or more of the many prescription drug assistance programs that are now available.

These programs provide prescription drugs free-of-charge to people in need, regardless of age, as long as they meet the sponsor's criteria.

Once a patient is approved and enrolled, the prescription drug is sent to his or her doctor, who dispenses it.

How Medicare Can Help With Prescriptions

Medicare now offers prescription drug coverage to eligible Americans.

If you qualify for Medicare, it will help you pay for both brand-name and generic medicine -- whatever your income, medical history or current coverage.

Medicaid/Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP)

There are currently millions of uninsured and financially-struggling patients in America eligible for help through Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) who have not yet enrolled. Significant health care gaps exist in the U.S. today because low-income patients do not have access to the healthcare coverage they need to better fight disease. The Partnership for Prescription Assistance is raising awareness of these programs to help ensure that patients get access to the coverage they need to live longer, healthier and more productive lives.

Participating Patient Assistance Programs

Many state and corporate prescription assistance programs help patients obtain free or low-cost medications.

To learn more about the patient assistance programs (PAPs) that are offered by pharmaceutical companies and states, you can type in your search term, download the full list of participating programs, or select a letter of the company name below.

Co-Payment Programs

Co-pay programs provide financial assistance for certain health care costs to patients who qualify financially and medically.

Free Health Clinics in Cleveland Area

The Partnership for Prescription Assistance can help you find free or low-cost health clinics near your home.

Search again


Ohio Permanente Med Group Inc
1001 Lakeside Ave E
Cleveland, OH 44114-1158
Map Location
(approx. 0.5 miles)

Cdc of Shaker Heights
City View
6606 Carnegie Ave
Cleveland, OH 44103-4622
Map Location
(approx. 1.9 miles)

Saint Clair Health Center Inc
Cuyahoga Physicians Network
6407 Saint Clair Ave
Cleveland, OH 44103-1633
Map Location
(approx. 2.2 miles)

North E Neighborhood Hlth Svc
Superior Health Center
12100 Superior Ave
Cleveland, OH 44106-1444
Map Location
(approx. 4.2 miles)

Metrohealth System Inc
11100 Saint Clair Ave
Cleveland, OH 44108-1943
Map Location
(approx. 4.5 miles)

Abco Health Center
13535 Detroit Ave Ste 4
Lakewood, OH 44107-4625
Map Location
(approx. 5.6 miles)

Women's Ctr At The Lakewood Hosp
1450 Belle Ave
Cleveland, OH 44107-4202
Map Location
(approx. 6.2 miles)

Cleveland Neighborhood Hlth Svcs
Hough Health Center
13301 Miles Ave
Cleveland, OH 44105-5521
Map Location
(approx. 6.4 miles)

Herbert P Wiedemann & Pat
18040 S Woodland Rd
Cleveland, OH 44120-1773
Map Location
(approx. 7 miles)

Bes of Ohio LLC
Family & Occupational Health
2174 Warrensville Center
Cleveland, OH 44118-3125
Map Location
(approx. 7.5 miles)

Bes of Ohio LLC
6420 York Rd
Cleveland, OH 44130-3032
Map Location
(approx. 9.3 miles)

Family Urgent Care Center Inc
5195 Mayfield Rd Ste 101
Cleveland, OH 44124-2464
Map Location
(approx. 9.8 miles)

Savings Cards

For additional ways to obtain free or low-cost prescription drugs, try the following discount drug card programs.

eSun Patient Card

Phone: 1-866-662-1351

Phone: 1-866-410-4225 (answering machine only)

PS Card (Prescription Savings Card)

Phone: 1-888-516-2535

Phone: 1-888-743-7214

True Rx Savings

Phone: 1-800-886-8412

Phone: 1-866-561-1926 (answering machine only)