Dozens of brand-name prescription drugs are losing their patent protection, allowing generic versions to enter the market and consumers to save 30 to 80 percent on those medications, said David Belian, director of media relations for the Generic Pharmaceutical Association.
Generic forms of drugs have the same active ingredients as their brand-name counterparts but are significantly cheaper because they don't invest in clinical trials or advertising, Belian said.
About 80 percent of prescriptions are filled with generic drugs, and they have a good track record, said Howard Schiff, executive director of the Maryland Pharmacists Association. But some generic drugs may not work as well as the original brands, so before making the switch consider consulting your doctor who can write a prescription specifying brand-name or generic, Schiff said.
These are the prescription drugs that have been or are expected to be released as generics in 2012 and 2013, according to Medco Health Solutions, which manages pharmacy benefits for employer health plans.
2012: Symbyax (treatment-resistant depression); Geodon (schizophrenia, bipolar disorder); Lexapro (depression, anxiety); Seroquel (schizophrenia, bipolar disorder); Avandia (Type 2 diabetes); Avandamet (Type 2 diabetes); Avandaryl (Type 2 diabetes); Avapro (high blood pressure); Avalide (high blood pressure); Provigil (excessive sleepiness); Plavix (prevents blood clots); Viramune (HIV infection); Lescol/Lescol XL (high cholesterol); Tricor (high cholesterol); Clarinex/Clarinex D (allergy symptoms, hives); Singulair (asthma and allergy symptoms); Actos (Type 2 diabetes); Xopenex (asthma, COPD); Revatio (pulmonary arterial hypertension); Diovan/Diovan HCT (high blood pressure); Detrol (overactive bladder); Lidoderm (pain from post-herpetic neuralgia); Atacand/Atacand HCT (high blood pressure); Evoxac (Sjogren's syndrome); Maxalt/Maxalt MLT (migraines); Actoplus Met (Type 2 diabetes).
2013: Opana ER (pain); Zometa (bone complications from cancer); Valcyte (viral infections); Zomig (migraines); Fosamax Plus D (osteoporosis); Rilutek (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis); Temodar (glioblastoma multiforme); Cerezyme (Gaucher disease); Niaspan (high cholesterol); Advicor (high cholesterol); AcipHex (GERD); Vivelle-DOT (menopausal symptoms); Cymbalta (depression, anxiety, nerve/musculoskeletal pain, fibromyalgia).
Explore further: Americans turn to generic medications in 2010: report