January 24, 2018
Drugs: The Psychology of Price

Drugs: The Psychology of Price

by Berkeley Wellness  

You’re just as likely to experience new drug side effects when switching from one brand to another brand as you are when switching from a brand to a generic—in theory, at least. One complication is that because generics are cheaper, some people think they aren’t as good. And, studies have shown, this worry and doubt when switching to a generic can actually increase the likelihood of poorer results and adverse effects. This is called the nocebo effect, which occurs when negative expectations influence the effect of a drug or other treatment. (With the placebo effect, positive expectations and belief help improve the effectiveness of a treatment.)

It’s important to know what the potential side effects of any drug are, of course. But if you’re prone to worrying, watch out for your negative expectations when you switch to a generic. And remember, when it comes to drugs, don’t let the price fool you. Some of the best drugs we have—aspirin and penicillin, for instance—are cheap and generic.