Posted by: Anonymous | 2009/05/26

Bipolar Meds

I am taking bipolar medication, but it is very expensive! I can' t afford to get the meds every month! Would generics be cheaper? Would it work the same?

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Our expert says:
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Firstly - regarding generic medications. For a generic drug to get MCC approval the company needs to demonstrate that the amount of drug reaching the bloodstream is within a certain range as compared to the original drug. For this they need to give the original drug to 12 healthy volunteers and take blood samples to measure the concentration of the generic drug. The original drug is given later to the same 12 volunteers and concentration levels are determined again. For the generic to get approval, the concentration may be 20% less or 25% higher than the original drug. Depending on the quality control in the company making the generic drug, you may get a tablet with 20% less of the active ingredient one month, and 25% more the next.

Generic drugs are cheaper and there is a place for them, but in my personal experience in clinical practice not all are equal to the original drug.

Are you on a medical aid? Remember, bipolar disorder is a Prescribed Minimum Benefit (PMB) condition and most medical aids fund the costs of drugs that they have approved in their treatment protocol.

Furthermore, some original drugs prescribed in bipolar disorder are available in Government Health Clinics.

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

Our users say:
Posted by: David | 2009/05/26

I have the same problem - no Medical Aid as well.
Currently it' s costing me just under R300 per month - but it used to be double. I changed from a brand name to the generic and saved about 40%.
The big drug companies vary their prices regularly - when the generics are introduced, it takes a few months for the prices to come down - but they are always slightly more expensive.

I just got off the line with SADAG who suggested I go to a government hospital to see the resident/visiting Psychologist for an appointment.
They work on a sliding scale and it is possible that you can pay a reduced price for your meds - maybe even free!
I have numbers for the Cape Town area if you' re keen - including the support groups and referral doctors...

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