SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4 News) – Intermountain Healthcare’s non-profit generic drug company CivicaRX recently announced it will be rolling out its first two generic drugs. The company has partnered with a drug a company in Denmark to produce antibiotics.

CivicaRX was established last year to address chronic drug shortages. The plan is to deliver 14 essential generic meds this year and up to 100 within 5 years.

When it comes to generic drugs, we know they are cheaper but is there any other difference?

At Jolley’s Compounding Pharmacy in Salt Lake City Pharmacist Benjamin Jolley shows us sometimes the only difference between generic and brand name drugs — is the label.

“They’re made in the same factory, this sticker goes on that one. This on that one,” said Benjamin Jolley. 

Jolley gives the example of an ADHD drug. 

“This one says Concerta on the bottle. On the tablet is ALZA 27. The tablets look identical and to my knowledge made in the same factory. This one costs $1,100 for a bottle of 100 and this one $750 for a bottle of 100.”

Insurance typically will cover generics better.

“For most people taking a generic is the best choice. It’s much cheaper. It could be a difference of $400 or $4 a month.”

When it comes to prescription drugs, Jolley says whether generic or the brand name both have the same amount of active ingredients and similar absorption rate by FDA standards.

For the majority of the population, no one can tell the difference.

But Jolley says roughly 10% of patients could be affected by fillers, what’s used to bind the chemicals such as lactose, cornstarch, and dyes.

“I had a lady who recently had a reaction to yellow dye #6.”

Those fillers can happen in any medication. 

Jolley gives one more tip to consumers who do have an allergic reaction to those fillers and must get the brand name. It’s what’s referred to as an authorized generic. 

“A brand name manufacturer uses the same factory, produces the same tablet so they can still keep market share value and sell at a lower price point. By knowing that and asking your pharmacist is there an authorized generic of this you can get the exact same product with a lot less money if you are concerned about switching to a different generic that may have different fillers.”

Jolley’s Compounding Pharmacy says when it comes to prescriptions and other generic drugs overseas there aren’t the same strict regulations.

That goes especially for over the counter meds. Experts say do your homework, read the label, where it’s manufactured and talk with a trusted pharmacist.

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