During a recent visit for periodontal surgery, my husband was prescribed chlorhexidine gluconate oral rinse to help stabilize and maintain healthy gums. After the surgery the dentist advised him to use Chlorexidine Gluconate Oral Rinse 0.12% as part of his daily oral hygiene routine. As a convenience, the dentist’s office carried a supply of the oral rinse, Chlorhexidine Gluconate Oral Rinse 0.12% by Dentsply. The rinse cost thirty dollars and was added to the office visit fee. My husband paid the office fee plus the cost of the oral rinse and headed home. He had been given a prescription by the dentist for a refill. When he needed to have the prescription filled for the Chlorexidine Gluconate Oral Rinse, we went to a local supermarket pharmacy in our neighborhood and were told the price would be approximately twenty eight dollars but the product was not in stock and would have to be ordered. The pharmacist then stated that the generic alternative of this product most probably could be purchased at WalMart if we did not wish to wait for the oral rinse to be ordered.
Off we went to WalMart where we were told that the prescription generic oral rinse would be approximately nine dollars. We stood there looking incredulously at the pharmacist and thought we had misunderstood his price quote. Do the math and you readily figure out that the price quoted at WalMart was a savings of twenty one dollars from the price paid at the dentist’s office and nineteen dollars in savings from the supermarket quote. It was truly an incredible savings. Of course, without further ado, my husband purchased the generic oral rinse at WalMart. When we arrived home, we compared the labels of the two products, the old bottle purchased at the dentist’s office and the recently purchased bottle. The two products were exactly the same including the directions outlining how to use the product. The only difference is that the two bottles of oral rinse were made by two different pharmaceutical companies, Oris and Dentsply. Both of the products had the same strength, 0.12%, and were both labeled Chlorexidine Gluconate Oral Rinse 0.12%. The label clearly states that Chlorhexidine gluconate is a generic for the Peridex 0.12% solution. Over time, you could buy three bottles of the mouthwash for what one bottle cost purchased in our dentist’s office or at our local supermarket pharmacy. My husband reports no difference whatsovever in the two products and they both are equivalent oral rinses. It made no sense to continue to pay the higher cost for the oral rinse when the generic is available and equally effective.
In this day of escalating medical and prescription costs, it is a blessing to be able to realize a significant savings when purchasing needed health items. We are appreciative that the pharmacist informed us of the generic form of the oral rinse which resulted in significant out of pocket savings. The lesson we learned is that is important to always ask your health care provider if a generic form of prescribed medication is suitable. If so, great savings are an added benefit. As consumers, we need to be knowledgeable and informed about our medications and to be receptive to taking a generic alternative if it is an option. It is always worth asking and it just might lower your out of pocket expense.