ASK THE PHARMACIST
MEDIA BAKER Y/RF
Are generic drugs as good
as brand-name drugs?
Generic manufacturers must prove to the Food
and Drug Administration (FDA) that their product contains the same active ingredient(s) in the
same strength and dosage form as the name
brand. Additionally, and perhaps most important,
the generic manufacturer must prove bioequiva-lence. This means that the generic must have
the same therapeutic efficacy and safety profile
as the name brand. Generic manufacturers are
closely regulated by the FDA, and all products
must undergo batch-to-batch product testing
for strength, purity and quality.
By Michael Mastromonica
DID YOU KNOW that more than
70 percent of all prescriptions
filled at Costco pharmacies are
filled for generic medications?
Here are answers to some
questions frequently asked in
regard to generic medications.
Why are generic drugs less expensive?
Simply put, generic manufacturers incur only
the cost of manufacturing and distribution. They
have no product-development costs and very
low marketing costs, and, because there is no
patent protection, they are in a very competitive
marketplace with other generic manufacturers
to sell the same products. This is a huge win
What is a generic medication?
Generic drugs contain the same active ingredients,
in the same strength, as brand-name drugs. When
a new drug is first developed, the pharmaceutical
company that brings the drug to market is given
a patent. This is intended to give the drug originator marketing exclusivity and a way to recoup its
significant investment in research. When the patent
expires, a generic form of the drug may become
available, sometimes at a significantly lower price.
How much can I save?
Prices vary, but on average a branded prescription at Costco sells for $137. The average
generic prescription sells for $18.23. Costco
offers many generic products priced at less than
$10 for a 90-day supply of medication! C
Michael Mastromonica, R.Ph., is the assistant
vice president of Pharmacy for Costco.
Hand-washing IQ WASHING ONE’S HANDS to prevent the spread of germs has reached a high profile with the H1N1 flu threat. Not a very high-tech preventive method, you might think—certainly a practice people often take for granted. But you might be surprised by what you don’t know about this simple action. Test your knowledge of the intricacies of good hand-washing practices with this quiz. Answers can be found on page 49.
SOMETIMES CALLED the silent
thief of sight, glaucoma is the
second-leading cause of blindness (diabetes is the leading
cause). Vision might decrease
so gradually from glaucoma that
the loss is not noticed until the
disease is at an advanced stage.
The term glaucoma is
applied to a group of disorders
that lead to damage to the optic
nerve, which transmits visual
information from the eye to the
brain. Frequently the damage
is caused by abnormally high
pressure inside the eye (
The most common type of
glaucoma, primary open-angle
glaucoma, has no noticeable
signs or symptoms except gradual vision loss. Medication can
treat this type effectively if it is
diagnosed and treated early.
presents differently, with sudden onset of symptoms, including eye pain, headaches, halos
seen around lights, vision loss,
red eyes and nausea. Treatment
usually involves surgery.
1. Hands should be washed in
connection with which of these
a) After using the rest room
b) After touching your hair,
face or body
c) Before handling food
d) After smoking, eating
e) After sneezing, coughing,
wiping or blowing your nose
f) After taking out the garbage
g) All of the above
3. Rings and other jewelry
(watches, bracelets) should be
removed for a thorough hand
a) True b) False
4. To kill germs, soap should
6. After washing, dry hands
be used with water at a
a) As hot as you can stand
d) Temperature does not
matter, as long as soap and
water are used
thoroughly (check all that apply)
a) With a single-use
b) With a hand towel used
c) On clothing
d) With a warm air dryer
2. How many seconds should
you devote to a thorough hand
a) 10 b) 20 c) 30
5. Rinse hands
a) Under running water
b) In a standing basin of water
Risk and prevention
Early detection and treatment are the best way to control glaucoma. If you’re in a
African-Americans age 40 or
older, everyone else 60 or older,
or those with a family history of
the disease—visit an eye-care
professional for a dilated-pupil
exam every two years, and
make sure your intraocular pressure is measured.—David Wight
For more information
Costco members can have
their eyes checked at most
Costco Optical Centers.
7. Turn off the faucet
a) With your clean hand
b) With the same paper
towel used for drying hands.