cancer, a combination of a prostate-specific
antigen (PSA) blood test and a digital rectal
exam by a doctor can often identify if there is
reason to suspect a problem.
If the doctor feels lumps or hard irregular
areas on the prostate through the rectal wall
or sees higher-than-normal PSA levels in the
blood, further testing is often needed to make
a diagnosis. The earlier treatment can begin,
the better, so don’t let the prospect of a little
short-term embarrassment in the privacy of
your doctor’s office prevent you from asking
to have your prostate checked.
Helpful Web resources are www.prostate
cancer.ca and; http://ca.movember.com. Also
see www.costcoconnection.ca and search
“Prostate cancer” in the search box. C
Joseph Hanna, B.Sc. Phm., CDE, CGP, is a
Costco Pharmacy professional services manager.
Q: How can a generic
medication that costs less
than half the price be
equivalent to a brand-name medication?
A: ALL medications contain one or more
active or medicinal ingredients that make
them work and additional non-medicinal
ingredients, sometimes referred to as fillers, that make up the rest of the tablet or
capsule. The brand-name manufacturer
spent time and money to research and
develop the medicinal ingredient and has
a number of years to sell its product exclusively under patent.
Once the patent expires, other manufacturers are allowed to copy the medicinal ingredient along with their own
formula of non-medicinal ingredients and,
after showing Health Canada that the
overall product has the same effect in the
body (is the bioequivalent) as the brand,
can sell their generic version.
Since making a bioequivalent copy is
cheaper than developing the drug from
scratch, it costs less to make, but the
copy still meets Health Canada’s standards, just like the brand-name version.
Because of bioequivalence, for the majority of people there is no noticeable difference in the medicinal ingredient’s effect,
regardless of which manufacturer made
it, or the tablet’s colour, shape or size.
Only in some specific circumstances,
such as an allergy, do the non-medicinal
ingredients make a difference. Your doctor
or pharmacist can help you decide if you
require a specific manufacturer for any
one of your particular medications.—JH
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Ask your Costco pharmacist for all your pharmacy needs. Products may vary by location. Pharmacies in Costco’s Quebec locations are independently owned and operated.
NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2012 ;e Costco Connection 61