Considering that everything from groceries to gas has skyrocketed during the country's ongoing tough economic times, almost everyone is looking for any way they can to save, even if those savings are counted in pennies.

In an attempt to save a few dollars on grocery bills, a lot of consumers have forsaken their usual name brand purchases for generic, lesser known name brands. After all, almost every product on the shelf, from coffee to detergent, has an option for a cheaper generic version.

Consumers are showing in numbers that they're clearly willing to give up their name brand grocery products to save a few dollars on their overall grocery bill, but are they as willing to give up their name brand drugs for generic drugs?

If you're looking to cut your monthly expenses, the switch should be a consideration. Did you know that generic drugs can cost 60%, 70%, even 80% less than their name brand counterparts? The few pennies you save by choosing a generic brand grocery item is great, but it pales in comparison to the substantial savings you can achieve just by choosing a generic drug.

Generic Drug Availability. Some people assume from past experiences that they might not have this option available. However, recent years have seen a surge of generic drugs literally pouring into the market. It's much easier today than it was just a few years ago to find a cheaper version of most all brand name prescriptions, especially if your prescriptive drug has been on the market for several years. Most brand name drugs have patent protection, meaning that other companies can't produce the same medication by a different name and offer it cheaper. However, drugs must eventually forfeit this patent protection. They then usually become available under a cheaper, generic label. Experts have predicted that there will be around $60 billion dollars worth of name brand drugs losing their patents over the next three years.

From depression, high cholesterol, diabetes, hypertension, allergies -- there's usually a generic drug available for almost any common medical condition. Of course, you'll need to ask your health care provider if there is a generic version available for your current prescription, or if they would recommend a similar generic drug in the same class as your prescription so that you can take advantage of the savings.

Generic Drugs and Insurance Coverage. We've already discussed that generic drugs are less expensive than their name brand counterparts, but did you know that they also carry a lower co-payment too? If your name brand drug prescription is costing you a co-payment of $50 or so, then you're likely looking at just $10 or so for the generic equivalent.

Even Bigger Savings. Coincidentally, many of the major, name brand stores with pharmacies are offering savings for choosing the lesser known, generic brand drugs. This trend was started back in 2006 when Sam's Club and Wal-Mart began offering their consumers 30 day supplies of certain generic drugs for only $4.00/per prescription. Currently, Wal-Mart offers the 30 day/$4.00 generic prescription on more than 360 drugs. Similar generic drug discount programs are available elsewhere, such as at Costco, Walgreens, and Target pharmacies.

There are substantial savings from choosing a generic drug over a name brand drug. Even if you are the type of person that must have name brand groceries, clothes, and so on, you might not want to spend the additional money on a name brand drug. After all, the savings from a few generic prescriptions could fund a new pair of designer jeans.

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Further Reading
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