Imagine you are eighty-five years old, and you’re on a complicated regimen of a dozen or so prescription medications to regulate your health. Some, you’ve been on for over twenty years.
Then let’s say that your Medicare won’t pay for one of the name brand medications you’ve been on for decades, and you switch to the generic equivalent.
Your new generic drug is a different color, size, and shape than you’re used to.
That is a scenario one of my elderly family members faced recently. That may not seem like a big deal to a lot of people. But the ensuing confusion of not recognizing her own drugs resulted in my family member missing a dose of a crucial medication.
That night, she went into atrial fibrillation and developed a blood clot in her arm. She barely survived the resulting trip to the hospital. While being treated, she developed pneumonia and other potentially-fatal issues.
Now, to be clear, my family member has learned an important lesson, and is now much more careful. She has recovered nicely, but her close call was an immense stressor for my family.
The situation made me wonder: Why do generic drugs have to look different from their name-brand counterparts to begin with?
According to the FDA, U.S. trademark laws prohibit generic drugs from looking identical to name brands.
While according to National Capitol Poison Center, this legislation was initiated to prevent counterfeit medicines from infiltrating the market, as well as to, ironically enough, reduce confusion for patients.
There is a simple solution to this issue…
Generic prescriptions medications should be the same size, shape, and color of their name brand counterparts.
However, we can have a nice big “G” logo to delineate the generics.
And a “NB” on the name brands.
Does anyone really have a problem with this?