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May 20, 1974

Equivalent Therapy at Lower Cost: The Oral Penicillins

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Clinical Engineering, George Washington University Medical Center, Washington, DC.

JAMA. 1974;228(8):1009-1014. doi:10.1001/jama.1974.03230330039018

Contrary to a widely accepted view, generic prescribing will not lead to the lowest-cost equivalent therapy. An examination of the price structure of the oral penicillins reveals that generic prescribing may lead to lower prescription prices; however, the so-called "average generic price" is about the same as the price of the lowest-priced branded items. Often the patient will pay more than the average unbranded product price. The physician can be sure that the patient gets equivalent therapy at a potentially lower or even the lowest cost by prescribing generically and specifying the manufacturer who sells the lowest-priced therapeutically equivalent product.

(JAMA 228:1009-1014, 1974)