generic vs brand name

Generic Vs. Brand Name: The Shocking Price Difference of the 10 Most Commonly Prescribed Medications

Generic Vs. Brand Name?

This question has very real financial impacts. Always ask your doctor if you can take a generic version instead of the brand name. The savings could be HUGE! We break down the math comparing generic drugs like Linisopril to their brand name counterparts.

Generic Vs. Brand Name: An Expensive Decision
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Here are the 10 most commonly prescribed drugs in the USA, with their brand name, generic name (If there is one) and the cost of each. This pricing is based on Drugs.com data and the Drugs.com discount card. We highly recommend you get this card, or another prescription card, as it can result in HUGE savings on medicine.

 

Drug Recalls Should Never be Ignored – 5 Simple Ways to Learn About Drug Recalls

 

A few things before we start looking generic vs brand name prices.

  1. The size of the pill will affect the price, 10mg will be more expensive then 20mg.
  2. The place you get the drug will affect the price, we hope to have some future articles about the best places to get common drugs. Right now all of these prices are based on info from drugs.com
  3. These prices are based on the cash price if you have insurance the prices will be different, or maybe even zero.
  4. Not all places take drug cards like the drugs.com prescription card. We’re working on an article about these prescription cards and hope to have it up shortly!

1. Lisinopril

Brand Name(s): Zestril, Prinivil, 5mg tablets
Prices: Zestril ($13.97 / pill ), Prinivil ($1.60 / pill

Generic Name: Lisinopril 5mg tablets
Price: $0.30 / pill

Common Use: Hypertension

These prices are based on a 90 pill bottle. As you can see, there’s massive savings using Lisinopril ($0.30) over the brand name counterparts. Zestril is a 4633% markup.


2. Levothyroxine

Generic Name: Levothyroxine, 0.05mg tablet
Price: $0.315 / tablet

Brand Names: Synthroid, Levoxyl, Unithroid 0.05mg tablets
Prices: Synthroid ($1.02), Levoxyl ($0.91), Unithroid ($0.61)

Common Use: Hypothyroidism

These prices are based on a 90 and 100 tablet bottles. The jump up in price from generic Levothyroxine to brand name isn’t as striking as we saw with Lisinopril, but it’s still at 218% jump from Levothyroixine to Synthroid. Or another way to look at it like a jump from $31.50 to $100.20 for a bottle of 100 tablets. That’s a $70 difference!


3. Atorvastatin

Brand Name(s): Lipitor, 10mg tablets
Prices: $13.97 / tablet

Generic Name: Atorvastatin, 10mg tablets
Price: $0.30 / pill

Common Use: High Cholesterol

It’s ridiculous how much the price jumps up for Atorvastatin’s brandname counterpart Lipitor. You’re looking at a 4,5557% increase to treat a condition that impacts 102 million American adults.


4. Metformin

Brand Name(s): Glucophage, Glucophage XR, Glumetza, Fortamet, 500mg tablets

Prices: Glucophage ($2.06 / tablet),
Glucophage XR ($1.14 / tablet), Glumetza ($53.83 / tablet), Fortamet($36.83 / tablet)

Generic Name: Metformin, 500mg tablets
Price: $0.25 / tablet

Common Use: Type II Diabetes

These prices are based off of a 60 or 100 tablet supply with 500mg tablets. As with Lisinopril, it’s striking how much the price can vary and it’s clear that the drug manufacturers are expecting people to have insurance to cover this. The difference between the prices of generic vs. brand name might be the difference between treated and untreated diabetes. If you’re interested in saving money on drugs like Metformin, remember to talk to your doctor about alternatives and not all of these listed drugs may be appropriate for you.


5. Simvastatin

Brand Name(s): Zocor, 5mg tablets
Prices: $3.90 / tablet

Generic Name: Simvastatin, 5mg tablets
Price: $0.55 / tablet

Common Use: High Cholesterol

These prices are based off of a 30 tablet supply. The difference between the generic and brand name prices 609%.


6. Omeprazole

Brand Name(s): Prilosec OTC, 20mg tablets
Prices: $0.93 / capsule

Generic Name: Omeprazole, 20mg tablets
Price: $0.76 / capsule

Common Use: GERD

These prices are based off of a 28 tablet supply. Omeprazole is one of the rare drugs where the brand name price is fairly close to the generic price.


7. Amlodipine

Brand Name(s): Norvasc, 2.5mg tablets
Prices: $6.91 / tablet

Generic Name: Amlodipine, 2.5mg tablets
Price: $0.45 / tablet

Common Uses: Angina, Coronary Artery Disease, Heart Failure

These prices are based off of a 90 tablet supply. The increase in price from the generic vs brand name is 1,435%! Totally ridiculous.


8. Metoprolol

Brand Name(s): Lopressor, 50mg tablets
Prices: $2.49 / tablet

Generic Name: Metoprolol, 50mg tablets
Price: $0.64 / tablet

Common Uses: Angina, Heart Attack

These prices are based on 100 tablet supplies. For what it treats, the jump isn’t as high as what we saw with Amlodipine. Still, going from generic to brand name is a 289% increase!


9. Acetaminophen

Brand Name(s): Tylenol, 325mg tablets
Prices: $0.26/ tablet

Generic Name: Acetaminophen, 325mg tablets
Price: $0.17 / tablet

Common Uses: Fever, Pain

A common drug found in medicine cabinets across the country. These numbers are based on 50 tablet supplies and it’s the first drug on the list that can be obtained without a prescription. The generic vs. brand name price difference is not as striking in this case. 


10. Albuterol

Brand Name(s): Proventil, 6.7g aerosol
Prices: $13.69 / gram

Generic Name: Albuterol, 90mL aerosol
Price: $0.34 / mL

Common Uses: COPD

The comparison here is a little skewed because the units given arn’t the same. If you’re having trouble paying for Proventil, you may want to check out this site for coupons and options.

These are only the 10 most common drugs that we looked at today. If you do find yourself needing one of these very common prescriptions, then take some time to compare the generic vs. brand name prices. Also, make sure to bring it up at your next doctor’s visit – an empowered and assertive patient is the best patient! In future posts we’ll compare pharmacy prices beyond drugs.com and the best places to get your generic prescriptions filled. 

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