Name brand drugs such as Flomax, Lipitor and Viagra can improve your quality of life.
Name brand prices, however, can take the stuffing out of your wallet.
Americans spent $287 billion dollars on prescription drugs in 2008 according to figures from IMS Health (Stock Quote: RX). This year, however, some consumers will get some respite from crushing drug prices as new, generic versions of these pills are put on the market. Making a switch could save you big bucks on your next trip to CVS (Stock Quote: CVS), RiteAid (Stock Quote: RAD), Walgreens (Stock Quote: WAG) or your local mom and pop pharmacy.
"The cost of brand name prescription drugs has risen at annual double-digit levels the past decade," says David Certner, legislative policy director for AARP. "The substitution of lower cost generic drugs can dramatically improve the consumer's ability to afford medication."
Companies such as Express Scripts (Stock Quote: ESRX) estimate that pharmaceutical manufacturers will lose as much as $10.9 billion in revenue when generic versions of drugs such as Lovenox and Cellcept become available this year. So, if you're looking for a deal, the company has a short list of few top line meds that may soon be going generic.
Generic name: Zolpidem
Manufacturer: Sanofil Aventis (Stock Quote: SNY)
Treatment: Sleep aid used to treat insomnia.
Approximate retail price from Drugstore.com (Stock Quote: DSCM): 12.5 mg (30 ea): $135.99
Exclusivity expiration date: March 2, 2009
Generic name: Amphetamine and dextroamphetamine
Manufacturer: Shire Pharmaceuticals (Stock Quote: SHPGY)
Treatment: Psychostimulant used to treat Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.
Approximate retail price from Drugstore.com: 15 mg (20 ea): $109.99
Exclusivity expiration date: Jan. 21, 2009
Generic name: Divalproex Sodium
Manufacturer: Abbott Laboratories (Stock Quote: ABT)
Treatment: Used to treat seizure disorders in adults and children. Depakote ER is also used to treat migraine headaches in adults.
Approximate retail price from Drugstore.com 250 mg (30 ea): $54.01
Exclusivity expiration date: June 6, 2009
Generic name: Lansoprazole
Manufacturer: TAP Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
Treatment: Proton pump inhibitor used to treat stomach and intestinal ulcers. The drug is also used to treat gastro esophageal reflux disease and excessive stomach acid production.
Approximate retail price from Drugstore.com: 15 mg (30 ea): $168.69
Patent expiration date: March 3, 2009
Generic name: Topiramate
Manufacturer: Ortho-McNeil-Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
Treatment: Anticonvulsant medication used to treat seizure and headaches.
Approximate retail price from Drugstore.com: 25 mg (60 ea): $148.50
Exclusivity expiration date: Feb. 28, 2009
Generic name: Valacyclovir
Manufacturer: GlaxoSmithKline (Stock Quote: GSK)
Treatment: Antiviral drug used to slow the spread of the herpes virus.
Approximate retail price from Drugstore.com: 1 gm (30 ea): $365.87
Patent expiration date: Dec. 23, 2009