Pfizer Originals – FAQ

Your doctor prescribed the Viatris original brand medication, and the Viatris Originals Program helps you get it.

Find the answers that you’re looking for below, and learn how you can be an original.

Being part of the Viatris Originals Program has its advantages.

Know what to ask for

  • What is a Viatris original brand medication?
    What is a Viatris original brand medication?

    The Viatris original brand medication is the one invented and developed by the heritage of Viatris. Even when a generic version is available, we continue to manufacture the original brand.

  • Original vs. generic: what’s the difference?
    Original vs. generic: what’s the difference?
    The original brand medication is the one first invented and developed by the heritage of Viatris. Other companies then sometimes develop medications that are pharmaceutically equivalent to the original brand medication. These are known as generics. According to Health Canada, the generic medication should contain chemically identical, but not necessarily physically identical, medicinal ingredients and may vary in non-medicinal ingredients, preservatives, flavour, shape, colour, packaging or labelling.
  • Why should I ask for the Viatris original brand medication?
    Why should I ask for the Viatris original brand medication?
    Some people prefer the Viatris original brand medication over a generic. That’s why Viatris is committed to helping you get the original brand medication you know and trust, as prescribed by your doctor.

Know what's available to you

  • Is the original brand medication still available at pharmacies, even if a generic version exists?
    Is the original brand medication still available at pharmacies, even if a generic version exists?

    Yes. All medications that are part of the Viatris Originals Program continue to be manufactured even after a generic becomes available so you can continue taking the Viatris original brand medication you know and trust.

    Most pharmacies will have the original brand medication in stock and all pharmacies can order it from their wholesaler. If your pharmacy does not have your original brand medication, simply ask your pharmacist to order it. They should receive it within a day or two. If you are unable to get the Viatris original brand medication at your pharmacy, you should be able to get it at a different one.

  • Do private and public insurance plans continue to cover Viatris original brand medications when a generic version exists?
    Do private and public insurance plans continue to cover Viatris original brand medications when a generic version exists?

    Everyone’s insurance coverage varies. Some people have private insurance through their employers while other people are covered by provincial drug insurance plans.

    Some insurance plans continue to cover the cost of the original brand medication. In such cases, plan members need to cover any co-payment and/or deductible according to their plan design. Other insurance plans will allow you to receive your original brand medication but will only reimburse up to the price of the generic version. You will then need to pay the difference between the price of the original brand medication and the generic in addition to any co-payment and/or deductible. These plans may still cover the original brand medication if specific reimbursement criteria are met (for example, if you’re allergic to an ingredient in the generic version).

    It is important to take the time to learn about your plan and what medications are covered. While at the pharmacy, you will find out if the original brand medication is covered once the claim is submitted to your drug plan.

  • Which medications are included in the Viatris Originals Program?
    Which medications are included in the Viatris Originals Program?

    The Viatris Originals Program includes many of Viatris’ most well-known medications for which generic versions are available. Viatris aims to make this program available for as many medications as possible, based on a number of different factors.

    These are the brands that are currently part of the program:

    Caduet
    Celebrex
    Detrol
    Detrol LA
    Effexor XR
    Lipitor
    Lyrica
    Norvasc
    Relpax
    Xalacom
    Xalatan
    Zoloft

Know what to look for

  • Can I actually request and receive the original brand medication at the pharmacy instead of a generic?
    Can I actually request and receive the original brand medication at the pharmacy instead of a generic?
    Yes. You have the right to request the original brand medication if that’s what you prefer. All Viatris brands participating in the Viatris Originals Program are available in Canada and can be ordered by pharmacies. Depending on your insurance coverage, you might need to pay the difference between the price of the original brand medication and the generic.
  • What if I need payment assistance?
    What if I need payment assistance?
    Ask your doctor to provide you with a Viatris Originals payment assistance card. Level of payment assistance varies by brand medication and province. Payment assistance will vary based on your insurance plan coverage of the original brand medication.
  • Won’t my pharmacist tell me if I’m given the generic?
    Won’t my pharmacist tell me if I’m given the generic?
    Most times yes, but sometimes no. Some provinces do not require pharmacists to tell their patients if they have been switched from the original brand medication to a generic, from one generic to another or from a generic back to the original brand medication. That’s why it’s always a good idea to specifically mention if you prefer to take a generic or the original brand medication to the pharmacist and to always check the medication you receive.
  • How does the payment assistance card work?
    How does the payment assistance card work?

    The Viatris Originals payment assistance card works just like the card for your insurance plan. When at the pharmacy, give the card to your pharmacist and they will enter it into their system. You will immediately be covered for most, if not all, of the difference between the original brand and the generic.

    The Viatris Originals payment assistance card allows you to remain on the original brand medication at little or no additional cost versus the generic. Payment assistance varies by brand and depends on the drug plan coverage you might have (private or public insurance). Private plans can vary significantly in how much of the prescription cost of the original brand medication they cover.

    See the participating brands in your province here.

  • How can I make sure that I get my original brand medication at the pharmacy?
    How can I make sure that I get my original brand medication at the pharmacy?
    Here are a few helpful tips to help you get your Viatris original brand medication when filling or refilling your prescription:
    1. State your preference for the Viatris original brand medication(s). If it’s not in stock, you can have the pharmacy order it or you can try another pharmacy.
    2. Ask the pharmacist to add a note in your file to record your preference for the next time you fill or refill a prescription.
    3. Check your medication each time you receive it to make sure it’s the brand you asked for.

    Sometimes prescription labels or receipts can be difficult to understand. It’s also possible that the brand name is written on pharmacy labels even if the generic version is dispensed. Pharmacists sometimes do this so patients know which pills are in which bottle. That’s why it’s always best to look at the pills themselves. You can use the Medication Identifier to help you find out if you’re taking the original brand medication or a generic.

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