(Last Updated On: February 20, 2019)

Most of us choose the branded items over generic medication, but is there really a great difference between the two?

As you may have observed, the generic variety is often a lot cheaper than their branded counterparts. But that doesn’t make them less effective.

Both the generic and branded options are required by the FDA to meet the standard.Which means they work just as well as the other.

What are generic drugs?

A generic drug is a medication created to be the same as an already marketed brand-name drug in dosage form, safety, strength, route of administration, quality, performance characteristics, and intended use. These similarities help to demonstrate bioequivalence, which means that a generic medicine works in the same way and provides the same clinical benefit as its brand-name version. In other words, you can take a generic medicine as an equal substitute for its brand-name counterpart.

Brief History

In late July 2010, an analysis of an IMS Health study of prescription drug use in the United States found that generic versions of brand-name drugs saved the American health care system more than $824 billion over the past decade, including $139.6 billion in 2009 alone.2 The study, commissioned by GPhA to provide and analyze brand and generic prescription drug sales data for the 10-year period from 2000 to 2009, reported that generics fill 75% of prescriptions dispensed in the country today, but account for only 22% of total drug spending.

The push to transition patients from branded to generic products has been strong for the past 12 years. This refresher is intended for established pharmacists who have been aware of the quality and value of generics over this time, as well as for newer pharmacists—highlighting resources available to them to inform patients about generics and help to answer common questions and concerns.

Do generic medicines work the same as brand-name medicines?

Yes. Any generic medicine modeled after a brand-name medicine must perform the same in the body as the brand-name medicine. This standard applies to all generic medicines. A generic medicine is the same as a brand-name medicine in dosage, safety, effectiveness, strength, stability, and quality, as well as in the way it is taken and the way it should be used. 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. The FDA Generic Drugs Program conducts a rigorous review to make certain generic medicines meet these standards, in addition to conducting 3,500 inspections of manufacturing plants a year and monitoring drug safety after the generic medicine has been approved and brought to market.

Generic or brand?

So the question now is, if your doctor or pharmacist offers you a generic form of your current medication, should you take it? The short answer in most cases is, yes.

Dr. Choudhry said,”
Brand-name medications are not always better and many of them are highly expensive”.

As a result of this high cost, some people may skip doses or not take a drug at all because they just can’t afford it. In this way, generics may be a clear winner. In many states pharmacists are required to provide you with the generic version of the medication, unless your doctor specifies otherwise.

While researchers will likely continue to look into the performance of generic versus brand-name drugs, the bulk of research out there shows that taking the no-name brand not only saves you money, but also provides you with a medication that is just as effective as the original.

That said, if you do switch to a generic version of your medication and notice new or worrying symptoms, it’s definitely something to bring up with your doctor.

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