The Difference between Generic Medicine and Branded Medicine

Bottles of Generic and Branded Medicine

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With hospital bills and regular checkups, keeping your health in tiptop shape is becoming costly nowadays. Factor in the bill for prescription medicine, and you might just find yourself being unable to afford to be healthy. For this reason, more and more people are looking into generic drugs to alleviate the cost of medication without compromising their own health. Yet are they actually keeping themselves healthy by taking generic drugs in the first place?

The short answer to this is yes, they are. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reassures the public that generic drugs and brand name medicine perform the same way. In fact, before a generic drug is approved by the FDA, it has to go through rigorous and stringent approval processes to guarantee its efficacy and to ensure it benefits the patient. It has to prove itself that it has the same bioequivalence as the brand name drug, and that it would not be harmful to the patients. In fact, the FDA website says that it “requires generic drugs to have the same quality and performance as brand name drugs.”

Here are other things you have to know about generic drugs:

  • Generic drugs are expected to be the bioequivalent of their brand name counterparts. In this case, bioequivalence implies that the generic drugs have “the same amount of the same active substance(s), in the same dosage form, for the same route of administration, and meeting the same or comparable standards” to the brand name drugs. This includes having the same amount of the medicine in the bloodstream.
  • Generic drugs are also proven to be just as effective as their brand name counterparts.
  • Generics are significantly cheaper than brand name drugs since they do not have to repeatedly stage clinical trials and pay for marketing, advertising, and promotions. Also, there are many generic brands that often sell the same product (for example, paracetamol). This availability then means that generics are often primed for competition, leading to lower prices.
  • While the active ingredients of both generic drugs and brand name medicines are the same, the inactive ingredients may be different. This is only relevant in cases where the patient be sensitive to one of these inactive ingredients. To be sure, check the ingredients of a generic drug before purchasing it if you have allergies.
  • Generics and brand name medicine often differ in markings, color, and shape.

Overall, while the inactive ingredients may vary, as well as the drug’s physical appearance, generics are expected to perform as well as their brand name counterparts, otherwise they would not be approved by the FDA. After all, the FDA actively monitors and regulates products to ensure that they are safe for public consumption. If adverse effects on a generic drug are reported, then you are reassured that these cases are strictly monitored and investigated to ensure that it doesn’t happen again.

With the help of generic drugs and high quality healthcare, you then have the peace of mind that you can afford to be healthy.