For many years, generic drugs have been a key tool for helping consumers, health insurers, and public payers to reduce their prescription drug costs. Their availability is particularly important in view of renewed rapid health care cost increases, a substantial share of which is attributed to prescription drugs.
At the same time, the cost savings should not be considered separately from quality of care issues. In this AARP Public Policy Institute Issue Brief, David Gross provides basic information about generic drugs, focusing on their contribution to reducing prescription drug costs; the generic drug approval process; evidence on generic drug safety and effectiveness; state laws regarding generic substitution; and provider and consumer attitudes toward generic drugs. (18 pages)