Branded Medicine V/s Generic Medicine
Generic drugs are copies of brand-name drugs that have exactly the same dosage, intended use, effects, side effects, route of administration, risks, safety, and strength as the original drug. In other words, their pharmacological effects are exactly the same as those of their brand-name counterparts.
An example of a generic drug, one used for diabetes, is metformin. A brand name for metformin is Glucophage. (Brand names are usually capitalized while generic names are not.) A generic drug, one used for hypertension, is metoprolol, whereas a brand name for the same drug is Lopressor.
Many people become concerned because generic drugs are often substantially cheaper than the brand-name versions. They wonder if the quality and effectiveness have been compromised to make the less expensive products. The FDA (U.S. Food and Drug Administration) requires that generic drugs be as safe and effective as brand-name drugs.
Generic medicines use the same active ingredients as brand-name medicines and work the same way, so they have the same risks and benefits as the brand-name medicines
Actually, generic drugs are only cheaper because the manufacturers have not had the expenses of developing and marketing a new drug. When a company brings a new drug onto the market, the firm has already spent substantial money on research, development, marketing and promotion of the drug. A patent is granted that gives the company that developed the drug an exclusive right to sell the drug as long as the patent is in effect.
As the patent nears expiration, manufacturers can apply to the FDA for permission to make and sell generic versions of the drug; and without the startup costs for development of the drug, other companies can afford to make and sell it more cheaply. When multiple companies begin producing and selling a drug, the competition among them can also drive the price down even further.
So there’s no truth in the myths that generic drugs are manufactured in poorer-quality facilities or are inferior in quality to brand-name drugs. The FDA applies the same standards for all drug manufacturing facilities, and many companies manufacture both brand-name and generic drugs. In fact, the FDA estimates that 50% of generic drug production is by brand-name companies.
Another common misbelief is that generic drugs take longer to work. The FDA requires that generic drugs work as fast and as effectively as the original brand-name products.
Read Also : What is generic medicine ?
Do generics measure up?
The answer in most cases is yes — generics, just like branded products, are regulated by the Food and Drug Administration. “To have a generic product approved by the FDA, the generic manufacturer must prove that its product is bioequivalent to the branded product,” explains Adam Porath, PharmD, BCPS AQ-Cardiology, BCACP and pharmacy manager at Renown. Basically, it has to function the same.
“Generic products are extremely well tolerated and will provide the same results as using a branded product,” Porath says.
Here’s how generics are the same as name-brand prescriptions:
• Generic products contain the same active ingredients.
• They produce the same desired clinical effect and accompanying side effects.
• Generics come in the same form as their branded counterparts: pill, liquid or inhaler, for example.
• Release into the bloodstream matches the name brand in timing and strength.
Here’s how they differ:
• Generics generally cost less.
• Federal law requires generics have different names and look different: shape, size, markings and color.
• Generics contain different inactive ingredients, like binders, fillers and artificial colors. Different side effects with generics can usually be attributed to these additions.
Why do generics cost less?
When pharmaceutical companies develop a new drug, they are paying for research, development, clinical studies, marketing — in some cases it can cost more than $800 million and take 10 to 15 years to develop a new drug.
“The manufacturers of branded medication products have to recoup their research and development costs,” Porath says.
So companies are granted a limited patent to sell their drug without the competition of generic counterparts. “When patent exclusivity ends, the market is open for any generic manufacturer to make a competing product with FDA approval.”
Without the same startup costs, companies can sell generics at 80 to 85 percent less. And because more than one company can produce the same generics, competition drives prices even lower.
How do you choose between name-brand and generic meds?
How do you determine if a generic is right for you? First, find out if your medication has a generic counterpart and check your insurance. Some companies require generic prescriptions.
A few things to note about generics:
• Because generics look different than brand names, be sure you’re taking the right one. Consult your doctor or pharmacist if you have questions.
• Different pharmacies carry different generics, and they vary by manufacturer.
• The bottle should always provide both the generic name and the brand name.
• If you switch to a generic and notice changes in your condition, notify your doctor immediately.
• With certain medications, like those taken for seizures, small changes in formulation can make a big difference in function and side effects. Always ask your doctor before switching prescriptions.
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