Branded Vs. Generic


What are generic drugs?

A generic drug is a chemically equivalent, lower-cost version of a brand-name drug. A brand-name drug and its generic version must have the same active ingredient, dosage, safety, strength, usage directions, quality, performance and intended use. Although generic drugs are chemically identical to their branded counterparts, they are typically sold at substantial discounts from the brand-name price.

Are generic drugs as effective as brand-name drugs?

Yes. Generic and brand-name drugs must meet the exact same Food and Drug Administration (FDA) standards for effectiveness, safety and quality. In addition, the FDA requires generic drugs to have the same quality, strength, purity and stability as their brand-name versions.

If generic drugs are just as good as brand-name drugs, why do generics cost less?

When a pharmaceutical company develops a new drug, a patent is issued, preventing other companies from selling the drug during the life of the patent. When a drug patent expires, the drug becomes off-patent and any drug manufacturer can sell its generic version. Because these manufacturers did not incur the same research and development costs, they can sell the drug at a substantial discount.

Why do some generic drugs look different from their brand-name versions?

All drugs have inactive ingredients such as dyes, fillers and preservatives. These ingredients often determine the size, shape and color of the drug. Trademark laws do not allow a generic drug to look exactly like its brand-name version. A generic drug must duplicate the active ingredient and it must be equally effective, but the color, shape, and other inactive ingredients may be different.

How do I purchase generic drugs?

Republic Act No. 6675, also known as the Generics Act of 1988, requires doctors to write prescriptions using generic names. If your doctor gives you a prescription without generic names, remind him/her to include the generic names. When you go to the pharmacy, ask the pharmacist if generic versions of the drugs are available.