Pharmacy Talk

Getting specific about generic drugs and how they save you money

April 2022

It’s no surprise that generic drugs save you money. After all, they exist to be a less expensive version of their brand-name counterparts. But how much can you really save, how do you get them, and what are the basics about generic drugs? Here are answers to many of the questions members regularly ask. 

What are generic drugs? 

A less expensive version of brand-name drugs, generics are made with the same active ingredients and are available in the same strengths and dosages as brand names.  

What process do generics go through for approval? 

Generics must meet the same strict standards the FDA sets for brand-name drugs. They must be the same in the following ways: 

  • Active ingredient 
  • Strength, dosage form (i.e. tablet or injectable), and route of administration (i.e. oral or topical) 
  • Manufactured under the same strict standards as the brand-name drug 
  • Drug label, with certain exceptions 
  • Bioequivalent to the brand name 

Do all drugs have generic equivalents? 

No, some brand-name drugs are protected by patents for up to 20 years, so a generic cannot be produced immediately. However, about half of all prescription drugs on the market do have generic versions available.  

How do I get a generic drug? 

Blue KC has taken care of this for you. When a generic equivalent is available, the Prescription Drug List (PDL)* for your Individual and Family Plan (Missouri RX List, Kansas RX List) will generally include it instead of the brand name drug. To feel completely confident that you’re getting the best price available, we encourage you to double check with your doctor or pharmacist.    

How does Blue KC help me save money on generics? 

Because your Blue KC PDL generally offers the generic instead of the brand name drug, we can offer you a lower price for your prescription. These real-life examples highlight your potential savings. 

Drug Name Brand Name  Out-of-Pocket Cost1,2 Generic  Out-of-Pocket Cost1,2 
Brand: Lyrica 
Generic: Pregabalin3 
$640/prescription $14/prescription 
Brand: Zestril 
Generic: Lisinopril3 
$452/prescription $3/prescription 

Medication prices are not exact and may vary. The coverage and pricing terms of products are subject to change based on your Pharmacy benefits.
1Out-of-pocket cost until deductible is met 
2Prescription cost for High Deductible Health Plan 
3Suggested generic substitution 

How else can I save money on prescription drugs? 

Sign up for Rx Savings Solutions through the member portal to see additional ways to save money on prescription drugs. Learn more about Rx Savings Solutions including how to sign up.  

*The Prescription Drug List, also referred to as a formulary, is a list of prescription medications that have been reviewed and recommended by Blue KC’s Medical and Pharmacy Management Committee. Each medication has been reviewed for safety, effectiveness, clinical outcomes, and cost 

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