AS WINTER DRAGS ON, so too do the chances that we’ll come down with some seasonal sniffles. And when it happens, we’re likely to turn to brand name medications to help us get better.
Why? Well, there’s still that feeling that the more expensive something is, the better it’ll be. And when we’re sick we just want to get well fast. So we’re happy to pay a premium for guaranteed results, rather than risk it with cheaper alternatives.
But are the cold and flu tablets and sachets from the likes of Beechams and Lemsip actually any better than own-brand versions? In short, either no, or not by much. And the same goes for most other medications you can pick up from the supermarket or pharmacy, from painkillers—such as ibuprofen and paracetamol— through to vitamins and creams.
Here’s how you can massively cut down what you spend on keeping healthy and getting better, both off the shelves and over the counter.
Look for the active ingredients
When you’re looking at different medications that claim to do the same thing, the best way to compare them is to check for the active ingredients. These are the main parts of the medicine that help you.
With cold and flu remedies, it’s likely to be paracetamol and phenylephrine hydrochloride (a decongestant). This is what you get in Lemsip for example. It’s also what you get in the own-brand version from the likes of Boots, Tesco and Asda—all cheaper than the big branded version.
There could be some extra ingredients that differ. Perhaps a flavouring, or a coating. But these aren’t doing anything to fix you. They just, potentially, make it taste a little nicer. It’s those active ingredients that are key.
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