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One Reason to Not Use Generic Medicines

Our latest podcast episode — “How to Save $1 Billion Without Even Trying” — discusses research which finds that health-care experts generally buy generic medicines for their own use rather than the more expensive name brands. The episode discusses the various reasons that brand names might be more appealing despite the higher cost. A listener named Mike Dimore has written in with an interesting, and serious, reason that didn’t come up:

This won’t apply to many people but for the few that it does apply to (myself included), it can end up costing them hundreds of thousands of dollars. I was diagnosed with ulcerative coilitis after taking an acne medication called Accutane. I had a lawsuit against the company that manufactured the drug, but since it was a generic version the company had no liability. They offered me a $8,000 settlement but I refused. My case was dismissed after the Supreme Court decision for Mutual Pharmaceutical Co. v. Bartlett, which essentially made it impossible for a consumer to sue a generic drug company. The people who took the non-generic version of this drug however received significantly higher settlement offers ($100k+).
This is a very specific and unfortunate example of why brand name can be better, but if and when it does happen it becomes a very significant one.