Brand vs. Generic Drugs

Welcome to my page! This will be the first of many entries I make regarding questions I encounter while at work. To kick off my first post, I’m going to start with two of the more common questions I get while I’m at work.

“Are generic drugs as good as the brand drugs?”

Yes, generic drugs are as good as brand name drugs. Generic drugs undergo a tremendous amount of testing by the FDA to make sure that they have the same dosage, safety, effectiveness, stability, and quality as brand name drugs. They must be clinically as effective as the brand name drugs before they can be approved as a copy.

Generic drugs may in fact be better because while you are getting the same results from either the generic or brand medication, you are saving yourself a lot of money by choosing the generic version. Why are they so much cheaper? A drug manufacturer that produces the brand version of a medication needs to spend a lot of money during research and development on a drug before releasing it. Marketing and application fees are additional costs generic drug manufacturers do not have to spend a lot of money on. Competition amongst generic drug manufacturers also drive the cost of the generic medication down.

“Are generic and brand medications the same?”

The answer to this is yes and no. While the active ingredient of the two must be the same, the inactive ingredients of the two may differ. When you go to refill a medication and the pills do not look the same, it’s because they are not exactly the same. Different companies will use different fillers to make the pills or capsules. This results in differences in their appearance. Occasionally, you will receive a generic medication that looks exactly the same as the brand. This is because the generic manufacturer is actually owned by the brand manufacturer. In instances like that, the generic and brand medications would in fact be exactly the same.

For certain medications, the brand and generic are actually shown to work differently. Doctors often will opt to keep a patient on the brand or generic depending on which they start with. Some examples of these medications include blood thinners and thyroid medications. Consult your doctor of pharmacist if you should have any questions regarding this.

Again, these medications and their manufacturing plants undergo rigorous amounts of testing throughout the year to make sure the products are safe and effective to take. If there is ever a concern regarding ingredients or side effects, the FDA would investigate. If necessary, the drug would be removed and the manufacturer would have to product a new supply.

So take the generic, you will be OK!

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