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Michigan(July 31, 2017): Prescribing generic drugs for seniors’ eye problems could save the U.S. government hundreds of millions of dollars a year, a new study suggests.

Conditions like glaucoma and dry eye that require daily eye drops are common in old age.

University of Michigan researchers report that eye doctors caring for seniors prescribe brand-name medications in more than three-quarters of cases, compared to one-third of cases among nearly all other specialties.

“Using a brand medication for a single patient may not seem like a big deal, but ultimately, these higher costs are paid by all of us,” De Lott said, referring to publicly funded Medicare coverage for seniors.

Moreover, there is no evidence to suggest that brand medications are superior to generics, which can cost three or four times less, De Lott said in a university news release.

Eye doctors prescribe more brand-name drugs by volume than any other group of health care providers, according to the researchers.

Noting that patients may stop taking medications because of the cost, the study authors said patients using glaucoma drugs should ask their doctor about effective, less expensive medications.

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