How to Identify Generic Pills

Generic drugs are fast becoming the answer to high-cost prescription drugs. The generic drug is comparable to its counterpart, the brand name drug. There may be a slight difference between the two, but medical professionals generally agree that the difference is so small (usually the inactive ingredients) that in most cases, it is safe to prescribe the generics. On the health website, Dr. Andrew Weil, M.D., states that generic drugs sold in the United States are required by law to have the same quality, strength, purity and stability as brand-name drugs.

Things You'll Need

  • Kiosks
  • Medical professionals
  • Medical reference books
  • Websites


    • 1

      Look at how the drug is written on the prescription. In pharmaceutical books and on the Internet, all generic drugs will be labeled with the first letter in lower case. Upper case letters are reserved for brand-name drugs only.

    • 2

      Check kiosks in drugstores. They provide access to information for identifying generic drugs and the differences between generic and brand-name drugs. Use kiosks to obtain information when the store location is open but the pharmacy within is closed.

    • 3

      Check with your prescribing physician. He should be able to provide you with all information you need about your prescription. Ask if the prescription is written for generic or brand-name drugs.

    • 4

      Check medical reference books. These are an easy place to find information on identifying your generic drugs. Search for drugs alphabetically. Most provide colorful picture of the pills themselves for identification purposes. The Physician's Desk Reference is a popular choice.

    • 5

      Search informational prescription websites. Most provide descriptions of generic pills, full color photos and comparisons to the brand-name drug. and are two popular reference sites.

Tips & Warnings

  • Do not take generic or any prescription drug without first consulting your doctor.
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