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Looking for a Reliable Generic Medication

You can arm-wrestle your mail-order pharmacy to get pills from your preferred manufacturer. Or ask the pharmacy that checks for reliable generic medication.
Looking for a Reliable Generic Medication
Close-up of many pink 500 milligrams pills.

If you take medications, there is a very good chance that you take at least one generic medicine. Can you trust it? The FDA has said that every generic drug it approves is equivalent to every other approved generic of that drug. But some patients have not found that to be the case. They wish they had easy access to a reliable generic medication. 

How Can You Find a Reliable Generic Medication?

Q. I am a 68 year-old female. When my doctor prescribed generic Celebrex for my knee pain, the pharmacy filled it twice with a generic made by Lupin. I was very disappointed because I had specifically requested Greenstone. I had read about Greenstone (owned by Pfizer) in your column.

Lupin’s celecoxib was absolutely worthless, and I would go so far to say it actually made my pain worse!! After two hours on the phone with the the pharmacy’s mail order division in Phoenix (I’m in Houston), they finally sent me the Greenstone. It works great! Now I expect to spend another 2 hours on the phone in July when these 90 need to be refilled. A small price to pay for the pain relief. Now why don’t all generics work that well?

A. We’re glad you were able to talk the mail-order pharmacy service into supplying the medication you wanted. It isn’t easy to know which manufacturer is the best for a specific generic drug, but people shouldn’t have so much difficulty finding a reliable generic medication. 

Look into Valisure:

We do have another suggestion beyond spending hours on the phone with your pharmacy benefits manager. You could send your prescription to Valisure. This online pharmacy operates under the motto, “the pharmacy that checks.” Rather than take the manufacturer’s word for the quality of its product, Valisure tests every batch of medicine that it sells. That way, they don’t have to worry that the celecoxib pills they send you, for example, will be less effective  

 And neither do you. 

This habit of testing every batch has revealed some pretty scary situations. Valisure’s testing revealed the nitrosamine contamination of ranitidine. Nitrosamine is a suspected cancer-causing chemical.

More recently, the company found that nitrosamine contamination is also widespread among various generic formulations of the diabetes drug metformin. Although the FDA has grudgingly admitted both these problems, it has no suggestions to help consumers purchase reliable generic medication. On the other hand, those who buy from Valisure know that their pills have been tested and have passed muster.

An Opportunity to Save:

Because we have a new relationship with Valisure, you can save money. Go to Valisure.com  (the pharmacy that checks) and when you check out, enter the code PEOPLE. That entitles you to free shipping on your first order. More importantly, you’ll have the peace of mind knowing that your pills do NOT contain carcinogens. What’s more, like our reader above, you’ll be pleased to be getting reliable generic medication that actually works.   

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About the Author
Terry Graedon, PhD, is a medical anthropologist and co-host of The People’s Pharmacy radio show, co-author of The People’s Pharmacy syndicated newspaper columns and numerous books, and co-founder of The People’s Pharmacy website. Terry taught in the Duke University School of Nursing and was an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology. She is a Fellow of the Society of Applied Anthropology. Terry is one of the country's leading authorities on the science behind folk remedies. .
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