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BY THE NUMBERS //

Generic Drugs

No-name drugs may be cheaper than brand names, but they have some drawbacks as well.

Summer 2006
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generic drugs

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50
Percentage of prescription drugs purchased in the United States that are generic

70
Percentage by which a generic drug (at an average price of $28.74) is cheaper than its brand-name counterpart ($96.01)

3.5
Average percentage variation in bioequivalence (delivery of the same amount of active ingredient in the same amount of time) between generics and their brand-name counterparts, about the same variation between lots of the same brand-name drug

10
Number of states that prohibit, without a doctor’s consent, the prescription of generic versions of “narrow therapeutic index” drugs, in which small deviations in dosage could be toxic or render the drug ineffective

17
Number of years most drugs are patent protected, barring generic versions from being produced

8,400
Number of drugs, out of 11,167, in the FDA’s approved-drug directory with generic counterparts

65
Percentage of physicians in a recent AARP study who say they feel frequently pressured by health-care plans or insurance companies to prescribe generics

8-10
Estimated billions of dollars that U.S. consumers save by choosing generics over brand names

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