ORLANDO, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35) - Over the years drug companies steadily raise their prices on some lifesaving medications. The debate over brand name versus generic medications came to light when drug maker Mylan started offering a generic version of the allergy treatment "Epipen.” The name brand will cost you twice as much, around $600 but is the cheaper generic brand just as effective?
"More expensive doesn't mean it's any better and cheaper doesn't mean it's any worse,” said Doctor Jamin Brahmbhatt with Orlando Health.
He told FOX35 News generic medication is just as effective as brand name medications. In fact, he said the Food and Drug Administration requires brand name and generic drugs to have the same active ingredients.
“The only difference is the inactive ingredients so sometimes the color may be different, the shape may be different," said Dr. Brahmbhatt.
So it really boils down to consumer preference.
"We typically lean towards the generic side," said Ben Homan, an Orlando resident. But when it comes to lifesaving medications he told us he may pay the extra cash for a name brand. "When it comes to vaccinations we might lean towards name brand vaccinations just because the quality seems like what they put in them is less damaging for long term side effects."
But you may be out of luck. Some pharmacies won't even carry name brands if there's a generic version. Pharmacist Shawn Kalhor from Vista Specialty Pharmacy explains.
"Florida law mandates the pharmacy dispenses the generic drug even if the brand name is written. Again, unless the doctor specifies or the patient specifies they want the brand name,” said Kalhor.
Dr. Brahmbhatt said doctors typically prescribe generic medication because not only will the patient save money but the entire health care community.
"If you look at all statistics in America 8 out of 10 prescriptions are generically prescriptions and just by doing that we're saving the health care system about $3 billion dollars a week," stated Dr. Brahmbhatt.
But in the end, it's ultimately up to you on what you like: generic or brand name drugs.