I'm still surprised by how often customers don't understand what 'generic' means. The ones that do understand are the 'prescription pros' whose eyes actually light up when you tell them their medication is now available as a generic, because they anticipate the price coming down. But many people still look very skeptically at you and ask, "But it's the same thing, right?" I feel as though they think I'm trying to put something over on them.
I've tried out a few different ways of explaining 'generic.' Some of them are:
1. It's the same active ingredient as the brand name drug, it just looks different and is made by a different company. (This one doesn't go over that well. It sounds kind of fishy.)
2. It's exactly the same medication as Zocor, they just can't call it Zocor because that's a
protected trade name. (Sometimes this is met with a nod of understanding.)
3. You know when you buy Del Monte Canned Pears and right next to it on the shelf there is a can of "Great Value" Canned Pears? They're both canned pears. One just has a fancier label. (This one is only used when I'm hitting rock bottom.)
People get funny ideas about generics. We all have the customer who swears, "the generic doesn't work for me," (even though there is no earthly reason why it shouldn't) or "I'm allergic to the generic." I don't dismiss these people out of hand. Generic products can contain different inactive ingredients (colors, flavors, fillers) that theoretically someone could have an allergy to. The lack of effectiveness is a little harder to buy, although again, theoretically a person could absorb the generic product somewhat differently which might affect its action. I recently had a customer beg me for a few tablets of Cardura because since he was switched to the generic, "I can't pee." ( I gave him a few and started the prior auth. procedure -- he did look really uncomfortable).
Other times I think people get it in their head that the generic is not going to work and then proceed to enable that very thing by sheer willpower. I took a call from an exasperated nurse who needed to start a prior auth for Duac Gel because the patient would not use its two --- cheaper---- components separately (Clindamycin gel and Benzoyl Peroxide gel) because she claimed that did NOT work. I'd have a tough time with that. I'm glad to see that occasionally docs will refuse to do prior auths for some of this stuff.
Then there's the flip side of the coin, when someone is presented with a higher-than-expected copay for what is a very pricey brand name drug, and their first question is "Isn't there a GENERIC??" I have to answer, "No, not for this one."
And I get that skeptical look, AGAIN............