Generic medicines are underdogs in the race between companies for consumer preference. Brand name drugs are, by default, extremely popular with consumers, considering their endorsements from international FDAs of various countries of the world. Given the international recognition for instigator drugs (brand name treatments) and their more impressive portfolios compared to newly-approved generic drugs, some consumers still find generic drugs a bit questionable.
A generic drug
What is the difference between generic and brand name medicines?
Generic medicines are defined by the FDA as medicines that are considered as “copies” of brand-name treatments. These medicines have the same active ingredient as the brand name or pioneer drugs. According to the Food and Drug Administration, generic medicines, before they are approved and considered as generic counterparts of brand name products, are subjected to intense FDA scrutiny.
However, before the generic medicines are approved to market by the Food and Drug Administration, the FDA still ensures that the brand name treatments have had ample time to exclusively market their products so they can recoup from the expenses incurred by the research, development, manufacture, and marketing of the brand name treatments.
- Generic medicines contain the same active ingredients as the brand name treatments.
Before generic medicines are approved and labeled as “generic” counterparts of brand medications, they are repeatedly tested and evaluated for their active ingredients. The manufacturers of the generic treatments should submit proof of the tests that confirm the presence of the active ingredient of the generic treatments.
Apart from containing the same active ingredients as the brand name drugs, generic treatments should also have the correct doses of the active ingredient and the same formulation as the brand name product to be considered as a “generic alternative”.
- Generic medicines have the same medical considerations as their brand name counterparts.
Since generic medicines and brand name treatments contain the same active ingredients, you can expect the same considerations for generic medicines. Generic counterparts of the pioneer drugs have the same potency as the brand name products and also identical in terms of the following:
- Side effects
- Intake instructions
- Drug interactions
- Disease interactions
Given the following similarities, you can use brand-name medicines and generic medicines interchangeably, as long as your doctor approves of your use of the generic product.
- Generic medicines, although with the same components as the brand name medications, are cheaper than the brand name products.
Consumers are often unsure about the quality of generic medicines given their utterly lower prices than that of the brand name treatments. However, consumers need not fear generic products despite their cheaper prices since we’ve established that brand name treatments and their generic counterparts are similar in components and have the same function in the body.
Generic drugs are only cheaper than the brand name drugs because they incurred fewer costs in manufacturing. While the pioneer companies that brand name treatments have spent millions of dollars on research, product development, clinical trials, marketing, and other concerns, generic manufacturers have spent considerably less for their product development. Generic manufacturers only have to copy the basic formula of the brand name drugs and add trivial tweaks on the appearance and flavor, incurring fewer costs than the brand name manufacturers. Generic drug makers are also not required to conduct clinical trials, as the FDA considers the clinical trials for the brand name treatments sufficient enough.
Apart from the fewer costs incurred by manufacturing generic medicines, customers can also expect fewer charges for generic medicines compared to the brand name ones because of the competition. The moment generic medicines are approved to circulate in the market, consumers will have a lot of choices for their medicines, prompting the prices of the generic medicines to go down considerably.
- Generic medicines and brand name medicines may differ in some inactive ingredients that won’t affect their overall effect on the patients.
The FDA allows slight deviations in the physical appearance and some aspects of the generic medicines as long as these changes do not create a significant shift in the effect of the generic drugs in the body.
Generic drugs are allowed to have added sweeteners, flavorings, and other aspects, as long they stay as potent as their brand name counterparts.
Where can I purchase generic medicines?
Generic medicines are sold at local drugstores, but most of the generic medications are marketed online. There is no difference in purchasing generic medicines from brand ones, so customers still have to provide the proper prescriptions for the medicines they need.
Naturally, generic medicines are cheaper online since web drugstores are capable of offering good prices for their stocks considering they are sourcing the medicines directly from the manufacturers and do not incur as many operational costs as the local drugstores.
An online pharmacy
Apart from offering the best prices for the medicines, consumers are also given deals such as seasonal discounts, freebies, free shipping, and others to help out consumers.
However, despite the good prices for the medicines at online drugstores, consumers are still cautioned about scam sites. Buyers should be aware of the reliable shops and should also be aware of the rip-off stores so consumers should not end up losing their money, getting their identities stolen, or getting fake medicines that can harm their health.
Research is important—customers should research on a shop first and look at its reviews or operation history so they can figure out if a shop is safe to use or not.
Generic medicines are similar to the brand name treatments. Although the generic meds cost utterly lower than the brand name or pioneer treatments, consumers can expect the same therapeutic effect from them considering their identical active ingredients. Overall, it is recommendable to use generic medicines as long as the patients consult their doctors first before using them.