By Stephanie Simons,
Lindo’s Pharmacy in Devonshire
Have you ever heard people discussing “generic drugs” and not been sure what they were talking about? Helping our customers find the best medicine for them and their budget is one of the great services that your pharmacist can offer you, so we want to make sure that you’re not missing out!
When your doctor gives you a prescription for medication, they will sometimes specify a particular brand of product. However, our Pharmacy Act allows pharmacists to substitute a generic or less expensive equivalent to what your doctor has prescribed, so long as you agree, without having to contact you doctor.
Generic medications contain the same active ingredients as you would find in brand name medicine and will have the same overall effect. The only difference is the packaging, branding and, occasionally, the inactive ingredients. The inactive ingredients are the things in your medicine that don’t usually have an effect on your treatment – for instance, they might affect the superficial aspects of it, such as shape or taste of it.
Most prescription drugs are available as both a brand offering and generic. Our preference is ordinarily to offer our customers the generic option as they are much more cost effective. We would never offer you a medical treatment that we didn’t think would be just as effective as a popular brand or if we thought that there would be a negative trade-off in terms of the quality of the medication.
Generic medication is typically cheaper because the company producing them does not need to invest in research, testing or advertising – the drugs being produced are copies of medicines developed and tested by big names in pharmaceuticals, once their patents have ended.
Additionally, in Bermuda, we import all of our drugs in from different countries, so sometimes we may have sourced a cheaper, brand or alternative from a different market in order to give you access to more affordable medicine.
Generic drugs are not just limited to prescription medication, many over the counter medications, such as allergy and pain relievers, also have generic alternatives.
Your pharmacist has a record of your repeat and continuing medications and by returning to the same pharmacy over and over again, you can develop a productive rapport and work together to make sure that you are taking the medicine that best fits your needs and is affordable.
If you are on a long course of medication we also encourage you to give us feedback. If you feel that one type of generic or brand medication is working more effectively than another, then let us know. We are always happy to work with you to manage your health and budget.
To find out more about generic medications and to find out if there’s one you should be using, please speak to your pharmacist.
Stephanie Simons is the head pharmacist at Lindo’s Pharmacy in Devonshire. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy at Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and has been practicing for over 20 years. She is a registered pharmacist with the Bermuda Pharmacy Council and is a member of the Bermuda Pharmaceutical Association.