Generic Medicines are medicines that are equivalent to an originator product. They are put on the market when an originator’s patent runs out. Licensed by the Health Products Regulatory Authority (HPRA), these products are interchangeable with the originator product*. Because the companies producing them do not undertake initial research, they can be produced at a lower cost and so are cheaper to the patient.
Generic Medicines are increasingly prescribed by doctors as effective alternatives to higher priced originators. In addition, we stock a wide range of generic non-prescription or Over the Counter (OTC) medicines which we feel offer excellent value to you, the consumer. Value for money and savings on your drugs’ bill are always welcome.
A lot of Generic Medicines are produced in Ireland and their use helps to keep valuable jobs here.
The Health (Pricing and Supply of Goods) Act 2013 was enacted on 28th May 2013. This act provides for the introduction of a system of generic substitution and reference price for interchangeable medicinal products. Further information on what this means for you will follow in due course prior to the legislation being implemented. A comprehensive communications programme, including a radio campaign, was rolled out in association with the HSE, Department of Health, Health Products Regulatory Authority, Irish Medical Organisation, Irish College of General Practitioners, Pharmaceutical Society of Ireland and patient groups to ensure that the general public was well aware of the changes in advance.
Generic Substitution and Reference Pricing are now being phased in. The first drug to be affected was Lipitor (Atorvastatin). Loads of medicines are now affected including Omeprazole (Losec), Fluoxetine (Prozac) and Sildenafil (Viagra).
Medicines which are included on an interchangeable list will be allocated a price known as a Reference Price. This is the maximum price the HSE will pay under the State’s Community Drug Schemes. If you would prefer to have the medicine on your prescription even if it costs more than the reference price you pay the difference between it and the reference price. If your doctor decides that, for medical reasons, your medicine should not be substituted then they must write the words “DO NOT SUBSTITUTE” in their own handwriting beside the medicine on your prescription. In these cases the HSE will pay the full cost of the medicine. Your doctor is required to keep a record of their clinical reason for doing this and may be asked by the HSE to provide this.
Contact a member of our pharmacy team today to see if switching to a generic brand can save you money when filling your prescription
* With a small number of drugs, changing brands is not recommended. Our pharmacists will be happy to advise.