A sound, basic guide to substituting inexpensive generic medications for their more costly name-brand equivalents (not to be confused with The Essential Guide to Nonprescription Drugs and others of that ilk). Apropos of the generic/brand name controversy, the Ferms explain that brand-name manufacturers, marshaling the support of physicians, pharmacists, and insurance companies, have completely controlled the market. They specify consumers' rights in regard to presecription drugs state-by-state, and help the reader understand prescriptions: what the abbreviations mean, questions to ask physician and pharmacist. They then list prescription drugs available generically--with, in each instance, comparative prices, indications for use, cautions, possible side effects, when to consult a doctor. In the case of prescription drugs not yet available genetically, they briefly describe the drug, identify its generic equivalents, and give the patent expiration date. Finally, looking at some over-the-counter drugs, they tell how generic equivalents may be recognized and utilized to save money and to avoid the sometimes-harmful effects of name-brand OTC nostrums. (One generic ingredient of a high-cost cold remedy may be more beneficial than the well-known capsule, for instance.) Clear, reliable instruction in an area where informed consumers have a real edge.