PITTSBURGH — An investigation has revealed the secret behind many new brand name drugs. Some of these drugs are a combination of two or three established drugs, which are often available in generic form. And in many of these cases, you can replace the prescription or over-the-counter medication with a cheaper version of the same medication.
Prices for more than 1,200 prescriptions have risen an average of 31.6% over the past year with an average price increase of $250 each, according to the Department of Health and Human Services.
So to save money, certified pharmacist Kevin Duane says there’s an easy and safe way to save on many brand name drugs. He is a board member of the Florida Pharmacy Association and owns and operates Jacksonville’s oldest pharmacy.
He said drugs often don’t have to cost that much, but that’s a tactic Big Pharma uses to make money. “Because of any discounts or incentives your insurance company may get,” he said, “the brand name drug ends up being the one given to you instead of a generic drug.”
But often, Duane said the name brands are just two generics put together and repackaged as a way for Big Pharma to extend patents and keep costs high. He said: “It’s perfectly fine to split it into two no-name brand name drugs and save a lot of money doing it.”
Duane said that instead of the diabetes drug Avandamet, you can take a combination of Avandia and metformin for a savings of over $350 per month.
The Contrave diet pill costs hundreds of dollars a month. But if you take its two ingredients separately, bupropion and naltrexone, it will cost you less than $30.
For high blood pressure, instead of expensive Benicar HCT, you can use a combination of olmesartan and hydrochlorothiazide. The substitution would save you hundreds per month.
All it takes is a simple conversation with your pharmacist, who will then get your doctor’s approval. In many cases, Duane said generics are made by the same brand manufacturer. This also works for over-the-counter medications. The prescription drug Duexis costs $30 a pill.
“It’s actually a combination of ibuprofen and famotidine – Pepcid, it’s the over-the-counter medicine for heartburn. … I’ve seen somewhere that it saves people money. hundreds of dollars a month to do this,” Duane said.
Duane said the practice of bundling two or three generics into one more expensive branded pill happens most often with drugs that treat common problems. So, people with diabetes, high blood pressure or high cholesterol should consult their doctor or pharmacist to break down their prescription and save money.
Here are some possible substitutions you can take to save money, but you should discuss them with your doctor first:
- Actoplus Met – instead take a combination of Actos and metformin.
- Avandamet – instead take a combination of Avandia and metformin.
- Avandaryl – instead take a combination of Avandia and Glimepiride.
- Duetact – instead take a combination of Actos and Glimepiride.
- Glucovance – instead take a combination of Glyburide and Metformin.
- Janumet – instead take a combination of Januvia and metformin.
- Metaglip – instead take a combination of Glipizide and Metformin.
- PrandiMet – instead take a combination of Prandin and Metformin.
- Lotrel – instead take a combination of amlodipine and benazepril.
- Exforge – instead take a combination of amlodipine and valsartan.
- Twynsta – instead take a combination of amlodipine and telmisartan.
- Avalide – instead take a combination of Irbesartan and HCTZ.
- Diovan HCT – instead take a combination of Valsartan and HCTZ.
- Hyzaar – instead take a combination of Losartan and HCTZ.
- Benicar HCT – instead take a combination of olmesartan and hydrochlorothiazide.
- Contrave – instead take a combination of bupropion and naltrexone.
- Treximet – instead take a combination of naproxen and sumatriptan.
Courtesy of Emily Turner and Maria Tomasch, CMG-Jacksonville
Download the FREE WPXI News App for the latest news alerts.
Follow Channel 11 news on Facebook and Twitter. | Watch WPXI NOW
©2022 Cox Media Group