How much cheaper are generic drugs?

Generic medications typically cost about 80% to 85% less than the same brand-name drug. According to 1 study, generic drugs saved the U.S. healthcare system $1.67 trillion from 2007 to 2016.

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How do I tell them apart? 

If you’re worried about picking up the wrong prescription, you can relax. Telling the difference between a generic and a brand-name drug isn’t too hard.

Due to trademark laws, generic and brand-name medications cannot look the same. In many cases, the name of the generic drug will be the same as the active ingredient, such as omeprazole (the generic version of Prilosec, a medication used to treat gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD). 

The generic and brand versions may differ on:

  • Shape
  • Color
  • Packaging
  • Flavorings
  • Inactive ingredients

However, these differences don’t mean a generic drug is any less effective or works differently than a brand-name one.