Choosing Wisely:

Don’t use expensive medications when an equally effective and lower-cost medication is available.

Rationale and Comments: On average, the cost of a generic drug is 80–85% lower than the brand-name product, although generic drugs are required to have the same active ingredients and strength, and similar effectiveness as brand-name drugs. Studies estimate that for every 10% increase in the use of generic cholesterol drugs, Medicare costs could be reduced by $1 billion annually.
Sponsoring Organizations:
  • American College of Preventive Medicine
  • Sources:
  • Expert consensus
  • Disciplines:
  • Preventive Medicine
  • References: • Hoadley JF, Merrell K, Hargrave E, Summer L. In Medicare Part D plans, low or zero copays and other features to encourage the use of generic statins work, could save billions. Health Affairs (Millwood). 2012;31(10):2266-75.
    • Mohler, PJ. New drugs: how to decide which ones to prescribe. Fam Pract Manag. 2006;13(6):33-5
    • Shrank WH, Hoang T, Ettner SL, Glassman PA, Nair K, DeLapp D, Dirstine J, Avorn J, Asch SM. The implications of choice: prescribing generic or preferred pharmaceuticals improves medication adherence for chronic conditions. Arch Intern Med. 2006;166(3):332-7.
    • Facts about generic drugs [Internet]. Silver Spring, MD: U.S. Food and Drug Administration; 2012 [updated 2012 Sep 19; cited 2014 Dec 5].Available from:

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