Before we proceed with answering the question, let us first define what a generic drug is. A generic drug is a pharmaceutical drug that’s equal to a branded medicine in formulation, potency, route of administration, and effects but the only difference is that it does not carry the name of the brand. These medicines are manufactured by generic drug companies and are reproduced versions of a brand-name medicine. Aside from its difference with a branded drug when it comes to branding, a generic drug is also different when it comes to shape, color, packaging, and taste which are really non-essential traits which do not affect the way the drug works. Simply put, a generic drug is a duplicate of a branded medicine as it uses the same active ingredients.
Generic Drugs Samples
Going back to the main question if it is safe to use generic drugs, the answer is a definite yes. Generic medicines may be referred to as copies by some people which is indeed true but these medicines have also undergone the same safety and quality checks done by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in ensuring a drug is safe for use.
Food and Drug Administration
FDA uses the same standards in screening branded meds and their generics which means these drugs are in the same league and both safe to use. Of course, what we are referring to are the FDA-approved generics and not just some generic medicines sold somewhere. Customers should be aware of this and should always determine whether a generic is FDA-approved or not just to be safe before using them.
But generic drug companies can’t just reproduce a drug because they wanted to. There are laws protecting the branded medicines where producing generic versions of them are prohibited until a certain period of time. When a new medicine is introduced in the market, it is patented by its original manufacturer which in effect, protects the drug for a span of 20 years. Within the 20-year period of the brand’s patent protection, its manufacturer will have the sole right to market the drug exclusively to protect its investments. But right after the patents of these drugs expire, generic drug companies who are interested in reproducing the medicine applies for rights through the FDA where their versions are scrutinized and checked if they meet the standards. If the requirements are met, these companies are granted the rights to reproduce and to market their generic versions of the brand-name drug.
Manufacturers are allowed reproduce the brand-name drugs using the same active ingredients but they are prohibited to copy the appearance of the drug they are reproducing since it is protected by trademark laws.
Benefits of Generic Drugs
Aside from being safe and effective for use, purchasing generic meds have a lot of benefits and advantages to the customers. Generic drugs are way cheaper compared to their branded counterparts, allowing the customers to save a lot of money while getting the exact same effects that a brand-name drug has. Brand-name drugs, especially the prescription ones, are known for being costly and the reason for that is the very large costs that its manufacturers have spent just to develop them. In the research and development stage alone, large pharma companies can spend billions of dollars because of the numerous trials and tests that a drug has to go through before its formulation and composition is perfected. And billions of dollars later, after the drug passed the final stage of tests and everything, it will be produced, marketed and advertised, adding more expenses to the company’s end.
These are the costs that they have to offset in the following 20 years that’s why their brands have a hefty price tag. But with generic medicines, it’s kind of easier to its manufacturers as they only need to reproduce the already-perfected formula and then sell them. Since generic drug manufacturers don’t have outlays which are as large as the expenditures of the original makers of the drug, they can market and sell their products at very affordable prices. It’s a win-win situation for the customers who are going to purchase and use generic drugs as they will get to experience the benefits of an expensive medicine with only spending a little money for them.
It’s only reasonable for the large manufacturing companies to have the market exclusivity for their new drugs so that they will be able to recover their large investments. If generic drug manufacturers would be allowed to immediately make generic versions to new drugs, it would not be a very good thing as it would be equivalent to nullifying the rights that the company has to their drug. Thankfully there are patent laws which balance these matters. There are already so many patents of excellent medicines which have already expired and have been replaced with generic drugs. So what the manufacturers of these drugs do is they also make generic versions of their drugs to be able to compete in the generic drugs market.
Are Branded Drugs Made in Better Facilities than Generics?
The FDA and the World Health Organization (WHO) won’t permit companies to produce drugs in substandard manufacturing plants, be it generic or brand-name drugs. So the answer to the question is no since both generic and branded drugs are made at facilities that are Good Manufacturing Practices-certified and observing the international safety standards.
This maintains the quality of the medicines that are produced by drug companies as the FDA and WHO constantly make thousands of yearly inspections to make sure that the consumers are safe as the companies continue to uphold their safety practices.
Customers should now put their doubts and misconceptions away concerning generic drugs since they are every bit as safe and effective as their branded counterparts. Generic medicines are also approved by the FDA which puts them on the same level as their branded equivalents, disproving the false impressions that they are inferior to the expensive drugs. The prices of generic meds may be cheaper but they definitely have the same effects as the brand-name drugs.