To curb healthcare costs, many states give pharmacists and patients some discretion to opt for generic versions of brand-name drugs.

Generic drugs are less costly versions of the identical molecule used in brand-name drugs, and are therapeutically equivalent, meaning they have same efficacy and side effects as the brand-name drug. Physicians also can decide whether a generic drug can be substituted for a brand-name drug.

In some instances, a physician may insist on the brand-name drug in the belief that it is superior to generic versions.

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