All You Need to Know About Generic Drugs

Generic drugs are cheaper than their branded counterparts are. Consumers save billions of dollars every year when they opt for generic over branded medicine. These two types of drugs may be light-years away in terms of pricing, but they are identical in terms of chemical composition. With respect to their innovator counterparts, generic medications contain the same active ingredients, have the same indications, and are bioequivalent such that they have the same dosage, strength, and route of administration.

How similar are generic drugs to branded drugs?

Since generic medications are essentially similar to branded versions, they are equally effective in dealing with the symptoms that the patient presents with. Since they work in the same way, the patient can expect the same quality at a much lower price. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) can offer the assurance that generic medications have the same purity, strength, and stability as their branded counterparts.

How do drug patents work?

While the patent for the drugs are in effect, only the company that developed the drug can sell it. The patent is intended to protect the investments made by the company on drug development. While it is in effect, no other pharmaceutical company can produce or sell the drug. The period of exclusivity eventually expires. Most of the patents that are given to drug companies last for 20 years. When the patent no longer covers the drug, the pharmaceutical company can apply to the Food and Drug Administration for the right to sell the drug as a generic product. To ensure that end-users receive the same quality of care they receive from branded medications, the FDA only approves generic drugs that meet the highest standards. This is how generic versions become available to the public.

Why are generic drugs cheaper than branded medications?

When a drug is no longer covered by a patent, companies other than the primary developer can then manufacture the drug and sell it as a generic version. The other companies that decide to join in the fray do not have to invest on drug development anymore. Since there is no need to spend on certain aspects of drug production and patents, the costs incurred are less. This is the main reason why generic drugs do not cost as much as branded ones. Nevertheless, the companies that produce the drugs for marketing to the masses must still fulfill the requirements given by the FDA and prove that the drugs work as they should, and are safe to use as well.

Do all branded drugs have generic counterparts?

Unfortunately, not every branded drug has a generic counterpart. However, the drugs that do have generic counterparts can be safely taken in, including medicines that can only be purchased from the pharmacy with a doctor’s prescription. You can find out if the prescribed medication that you need has a generic version from consulting FDA-released listings. The list of generic drugs can be accessed online. You can conduct a quick search by encoding either the generic name or the active ingredient. While you are still consulting with your physician, you can also ask if the drug that he or she is prescribing for your ailment has a generic version.