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17-Feb-11 9:00 AM  CST  

Consumer Reports Announces “Best Buy” Drugs 

Consumer Reports has released its list of “Best Buys” medications for consumers in its March 2011 issue, and many generic drugs are the top picks.  

Researchers at Consumer Reports compared over 25 classes of drugs covering over 35 chronic conditions, including diabetes, high cholesterol, depression and heartburn. The majority of the magazine’s research came from studies done by experts at the Drug Effectiveness Review Project at Oregon Health & Sciences University. In a statement about the report, the publication said many of its top picks were generic medications because they proved less expensive and as effective as brand-name medications. Also, insurers and community pharmacies provide consumers more coverage and discount programs for generic medications.

“Retailers like Kmart, Target, Walgreens, and Walmart have been steadily expanding their discount programs, offering $4 a month prescriptions for drugs that our evidence based program deems ‘best buys,’” said Lisa Gill, editor of the Consumer Reports Best Buy Drugs (BBD) report. “We suspect that consumers aren’t taking full advantage of these programs because of the constant din of drug advertising which is steering consumers toward overpriced brand name drugs.”

To earn a Best Buy designation, the medication had to be at least as effective and safe as other medications in its class, and it had to be less expensive. Notable generics that Consumer Reports preferred over brand-name medications included:
  • Omerprazole for heartburn: Consumer Reports considered generic omerprazole a cheaper, as effective alternative to noteworthy brand-name medications Prilosec and Nexium. It also preferred omerprazole over the relatively newer brand-name medication Zegerid OTC because it felt not enough post-market research had been done on the sodium bicarbonate ingredient in Zegerid.
  • Naproxen for pain relief: Aside from being less expensive, Consumer Reports picked naproxen over the top-selling brand-name prescription pain reliever Celebrex because of recent post-market studies that found Celebrex can raise the risk of heart attack and stroke. The publication said that naproxen was just as effective as Celebrex but with less risk.
  • Metformin for diabetes: Consumer Reports suggested patients try controlling their diabetes with metformin before using newer drugs such as Avandia and Actos. Last year, the FDA put Avandia under a REMS restricted access program that limits the drug to patients currently taking Avandia who wish to remain on the drug and for new patients who are unable to control their blood sugar on any other diabetes medication after several studies linked Avandia to a greater risk of heart complications.
A full list of Consumer Reports’ Best Buys is available at: 
NPTA encourages pharmacy technicians to read the report and comment on it.
Copyright © 2011 NPTA. All rights reserved.

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Total Comments: 2
  • Sandra on 3-Mar-11 8:42 AM permalink

    Is it up to the doctors to suggest to the patient that it would be more cost effective to use the generic? If the physician would reaffirm to the patients that generics are just as good the the brand medication, it would certainly help. Great article.

  • Janice on 27-Feb-11 2:59 PM permalink

    This is what consumers need to know. There are so many people who thinks generics are less effective than the branded one. No! The active ingredients are the same, you get the same benefits, sometimes better, and you save! I'd encourage people to go for generics.

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