Money Talks: Dangers of Generic Drugs

Prescription medications can make up a big part of a person's budget, especially when those medications are brand-name. That's where generics come in.

There's no doubt generic medications can save you money| but if they don't work the same, they could hurt you.

"Certain generics could end up costing someone their life. It could be that they're using a heart medication that's not working properly, an anti-depressant that's causing them to become suicidal when they had been well-maintained before. It's a very serious issue."

One recent example...a generic for the antidepressant, "Wellbutrin XL 300 milligram," made by Teva Pharmaceuticals, wasn't performing the same as the brand name.

After more than 5 years of patient complaints, the FDA reviewed Budeprion XL and pulled it from the market in 2012.

"The FDA only requires that the medication to be within 80-125 percent of the original product. So generics are not identical. They are what's called bio-equivalent, which gives them some flexibility in terms of how close they really are to the original product."

Each manufacturer could make their generic version a little different, so pay attention to how the drug works for you and the company name so you can talk with your pharmacist and your doctor about your prescription.

Bottom line... generics can save you a lot of money and there's no doubt that the vast majority are totally safe.

But if you move from a name brand to a generic, be sure and communicate any changes you're feeling to your doctor.

Talk it out and if you need any more information, I've got it for you right here at and search for "Generic drugs."

For Money Talks News, I'm Stacy Johnson.

close video ad
Unmutetoggle ad audio on off