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May 8, 1987

Cost and Price of Comparable Branded and Generic Pharmaceuticals

Author Affiliations

Cook County Hospital Chicago
University of Illinois at Chicago

Cook County Hospital Chicago
University of Illinois at Chicago

JAMA. 1987;257(18):2436-2437. doi:10.1001/jama.1987.03390180053016

To the Editor.—  We share the Food and Drug Administration's concern1 that the public needs more balanced information about generic drugs. In our opinion, the message of the study of costs of branded vs generic pharmaceuticals2 was that, for just 11 drugs, consumers could save hundreds of millions of dollars by buying generic. We believe that the message of the article and editorial,3 that buying generic is not always the best buy, fails to convey to the public the actual savings that generic drugs offer.We found Table 2 of the article confusing. It obscured the key data comparing costs paid by consumers for generic vs branded drugs. Even a reader familiar with both the generic and brand names for each product could easily fail to appreciate the consistent and rather considerable savings that generics offer. Instead, one gets lost going down the list, which also biases