State of Iowa Health Insurance

Check out Generic Drug Options Before Buying a Brand Name

March 2020 

If your health care provider prescribes a medication for you, it’s a good idea to talk about whether you should be given a brand name or a generic version of the drug. For many reasons, the generic is often the better choice. 

Reason 1: Generic drugs are less expensive. 
With both Iowa Choice and National Choice, a 30-day supply of a generic drug is just a $10 copay. A brand-name drug is a $25 copay for a preferred brand or a $50 copay if it is a non-preferred brand-name drug. 

Reason 2: Generic drugs work the same way as brand-name drugs.
Generic drugs are not “knock-offs.” Generic drugs are made to work the same way as brand-name drugs. They have the same active ingredient(s) and are the same as brand-name medications when it comes to:

  • Quality.
  • Dosage (how much and how often you take it).
  • Strength.
  • Route of administration (how you take it).

For example, metformin is the generic version of Glucophage, a drug used to treat type 2 diabetes. These two prescription drugs are available in the same strengths, are prescribed in the same quantities, and have the same instructions for how to take them. 

Reason 3: Generic drugs are as effective as brand-name drugs.
Generic medications are just as effective as brand-name drugs. According to the Food and Drug Administration, drug makers must prove that generic medications can be substituted for brand-name drugs and offer the same benefits as their brand-name counterparts. 

Ask your health care provider if a generic drug is available. You can swap a generic drug for a brand-name one to save money and get the same effect.