What is the difference between generic, preferred, and non-preferred drugs?
The Plan pays benefits for prescription drugs based on three categories: generic, preferred, and non-preferred. Since there are different types of medications that can be used to treat the same condition, it’s important for you to know the difference by category. Being an educated prescription drug consumer can help you use the Plan most cost effectively. By law, a generic drug must be equivalent to its brand name counterpart. When the patent runs out on a brand name drug (in 17 years), other Food and Drug Administration (FDA) manufacturers are allowed to produce the generic versions. The FDA approves all medications including generics. Preferred drugs are brand name drugs that are listed on the Plan’s Preferred Drug List because they are either more effective than others in their class (group of drugs used to treat particular conditions) or as effective as and less costly than similar medications. Non-preferred drugs are brand name drugs that are not on the Plan’s Preferred Drug List.