The concern for the quality of generic medications has consumed the patient communities until the present and it is still a big question if the generic medicines are safe to consume by patients. There are plenty of online pharmacies now advocating the purchase of generic medicines and are encouraging the consumers to consider generics instead of brand treatments—but is this okay? Let’s find out!
What are Generic Drugs?
What are generic drugs, really? When we say generic medicines, these are products created to mirror the ingredients and the effect of the branded treatments available in the market. These generic versions are often more affordable than the branded drugs and therefore seem preferable than the branded medications.
The term generic is given to all medicines that come after the branded medications. For instance, Viagra, since it holds the patent for the first erectile dysfunction drug (Sildenafil Citrate), it is recognized as the brand-name treatment. Medicines like Sildenafil Teva, Sildenafil Sandoz, and Sildenafil Mylan—and the plethora of generic medicines from renowned manufacturers all over the world—are termed as “generic” versions of the Viagra drug, regardless of their manufacturers.
People are often suspicious of the quality of the generic medications in the market, but this distrust for generic products is actually baseless. Generic medicines may be cheaper than their branded contemporaries, but they are in no way inferior to the branded treatments. Generic medicines have also undergone the scrutiny of the Food and Drug Administration and have passed and gained the “generic” status, which means that they are generally safe to use by the consumers.
Generic and Branded Medicines Comparison
To further emphasize the similarities between generic and brand name medicines, here’s a comparison of these products:
There are a couple of differences between generic and brand name treatments, but none of them are actually major—these differences would not affect how the medicines function in the patients.
- Price. The most obvious difference between generic medicines and branded products is their price. More often than not, generic medicines are categorically cheaper than the branded medications because of one thing—brand name medicines cost more due to manufacturing. Generic medicines are usually just reversed engineered, while brand names are pioneer medicines which took up massive amounts of time, research, and money, hence the high costs passed down to the consumers.
- Appearance. Believe it or not, branded medications have already patented their appearances, which mean that no generic product may look 100% the same as them. Generic medicines should look different than the brand name medicines since it would be “illegal” for them to look exactly the same as their brand parallels.
- Manufacturers and manufacturing countries. Generic medicine sources are diverse—they can come from countries where the brand name meds come from, or they can come from companies located in international sources.
Brand name medicines and generic products are more similar than you think. Here are some of the overlooked similarities between the brand and generic treatments:
- Active ingredient. Branded medicines and their generic counterparts have identical active ingredients. Generic medicines would not be classified as generic products had their active contents been different than that of their brand name parallels.
- Action in the patients. Given the similar active ingredients, brand and generic medicines have the same overall effect in the patients. Contrary to the common notion, generic medicines actually have the same onset and the same duration in the body. Action-wise you won’t be able to differentiate the effects of the brand name medicines from the generic ones.
- Contraindications and other special interactions. Since branded medicines have the same active contents as the generic medicines, they have the same contraindicated medicines/substances and special medical considerations.
- Side effects. These medicines also have the same side effects in patients. Generic medicines are not “weaker”—they technically have the same potency as the brand name medicines and should be treated and use as one would a brand name drug.
Where Can I Purchase Generic Medicines?
Concerning the purchase of generic medicines, consumers actually have several choices. They can purchase generic medicines at their local drugstores (whenever available) or at online pharmacies. Although at times, local drugstores are able to stock generic medicines, most local suppliers are limited by the local legislation from stocking generic medicines, especially in countries where certain meds have earned exclusive rights to market, like Viagra in the United States and Australia. Because of this, consumers are better off getting their generic medicine stashes from reliable online stores.
It is not easy searching for web drugstores with genuine generic medicines sold at good prices, but you can find an excellent online pharmacy to cater to your product needs if you search wisely.
Here are some pointers you may need in your search for the best generic drugstore in the market:
- Choose online pharmacies with plenty of external reviews (third-party website reviews)
- Pick shops with long service histories
- Do a real-time check on the customer service—check if the numbers are working and if the email or live support team is responsive
- Ask around in forums
Also, apart from these, you should beware of deals that sound too good to be true and trust your instincts when shopping. If you see and feel that something’s off with a website, don’t push it, unless otherwise, the shop has proven its credibility and reliability for use.
Generic medicines may be cheaper than their brand name counterparts, but they are as good as the brand name medications. You can purchase generic medicines at local and online pharmacies (although online stores have the best prices) but make sure to consult your doctor first before resolving to use a generic drug in lieu of your brand name prescription.