Generic Drug Sales Increasing at Local Pharmacy

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COLUMBIA - A local pharmacist says his generic sales are increasing for over-the-counter drugs, helping people to save money and still get the same benefits as the name brands on the market.

Darran Alberty is the owner of D & H Drugstore in Columbia.  He's been a pharmacist for 15 years and with the company all those years as well.  The drugstore offers brand name drugs in addition to the generic equivalents.  On a daily basis, however, Alberty sees customers buying a lot more generic drugs.

"Economy probably has a lot to do with it, people are trying to save money any way they can and generic drugs are definitely one way they can do that," Alberty said.

D & H Inventory Manager Ron Robertson has been with the company for 17 years now and sees sales trending in the same direction.

"Over the past couple of years, the proportion of generic over-the-counter stuff for store brand has risen enormously," Robertson said.  And the economy may be one of two reasons.

"We've had a lot of brand name recalls over the past few years which kind of forced people into buying the store brand, and I think they found out in a lot of cases it works just as well as the name brand and it saves them money, so it's like why not," Robertson said.

According to a report by IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics, between September 2006 and August 2011, 83 percent of drug sales were generic and the other 17 percent were brand or branded generic.

Alberty said the active ingredients for brand and generic drugs are required to be the same, leaving the only difference between the two to be cost.  He says they may differ in appearance, like the color of a pill because of a dye change.  Other than that, they are identical.

Alberty expects generic drug sales to continue to increase with his customers.  He believes people will keep realizing that the ingredients are exactly the same, and therefore, reep the same health benefits as the pricier items on the shelf.

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