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Save Money With Generics

For every dollar you or your employer spends on your Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield health care premiums, 15 cents goes for prescription drugs. An easy way to help control health care costs is to buy generic medications when available and appropriate.

What are Generic Drugs?

A generic drug is identical to a brand-name drug in:

  • dosage form
  • safety
  • strength
  • the way you take it
  • quality
  • performance characteristics
  • intended use

Although generic drugs are chemically identical (also known as bioequivalent) to their branded counterparts, they typically cost much less than the brand-name drugs. The average retail price of generic prescription drugs in 2007 was $34.34. The average retail price of a brand-name drug was more than 3 times higher: $119.51.* 

Ask for Generic Drugs and Save

Generic drugs are safe, effective and approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Always ask your doctor or pharmacist if there is a generic available.

How Do I Save by Buying Generics?

Medications are assigned to one of four categories or tiers, which are based on drug usage, cost, and clinical effectiveness. The Wellmark Drug List  can show you which tier applies to a specific medication. You'll pay the lowest cost share when you choose Tier 1 drugs, which are generic drugs. Learn more about how prescription benefits work.


The Wellmark Drug List can also help you find generic medications. Be sure to check often for new generics that are available for brand-name drugs. Below are common drugs that have a generic alternative or equivalent. If you take one of the brand-name drugs, ask your doctor or pharmacist about switching to the generic.




If the Brand-Name Drug Is: Try This Generic Equivalent or Alternative 
Lipitor Simvastatin
Effexor XR Venlafaxine
Prevacid Omeprazole
Lexapro Citalopram
Actos Metformin
Cymbalta Venlafaxine
Crestor Simvastatin
Nexium Omeprazole
Topamax Topiramate
Valtrex Acyclovir
Adderall XR Dextroamphetamine
Vytorin Simvastatin
Levaquin Ciprofloxacin
Tricor Fenofibrate
Concerta Methylphenidate
Abilify Risperidone
Celebrex Ibuprofen
Imitrex Sumatriptan
Diovan HCT Lisinopril/HCT
Lamictal Lamotrigine
Lyrica Gabapentin
Wellbutrin XL Bupropion XL


*National Association of Chain Drug Stores

Related Information
»   Locate a Pharmacy open new window image
»   Download Forms
»   Prior Authorization open new window image
»   Quantity Limits open new window image

Additional Resources
Find more answers to your prescription drug questions at these Web sites:
»   The Generic Pharmaceutical Association leave site image
»   Personal Medication Records by leave site image
»   The Food and Drug Administration leave site image
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