Medicine: Brand Names & Prices

When a doctor writes a prescription, he may use either the general chemical name of the drug or the trademarked brand name of some particular manufacturer. The brand-named items usually cost more. Congressional investigators and drug manufacturers who recently debated the merits of the rival methods reached no conclusion. But Connecticut's state welfare department last week took positive action. It issued a list of the 25 trade-named drugs (see box) most commonly prescribed for welfare recipients, and ordered doctors to prescribe by general name "whenever possible." Said Governor Abraham Ribicoff: "The state...

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