By Dr. Brian McDonough

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – I have to admit that over the years it has taken me quite some time to accept generic medications as a valuable tool for helping patients afford medications and to encourage them to take their medications as prescribed.

I think that there is definitely a role for generics that is growing. But I do have a concern. This is not raised by studies or journal articles but by my experience with patients. Many pharmacies actually enter into deals with certain companies to provide the pharmacies with generics. As a result, depending on the time of year or length of contract the shape or color of a pill can change, not the way the drug works but its appearance.

Why is this a problem? Quite simple. Many patients, particularly the elderly, learn to take two pink pills or one white pill each day. When the color or shape changes — and in a worst case scenario — when the new color or shape actually looks like another drug, a patient runs the risk of taking the wrong medication or dose day after day.

This can be a recipe for disaster. It’s a problem that needs to be looked into, soon.

Reported By Dr. Brian McDonough, KYW Newsradio Medical Editor

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