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What is a Generic Drug?
5 May. 2014

generic-drugsThere are so many drugs currently on the market that it is becoming practically impossible to choose between them. One thing that everyone needs to understand is that there are currently two types of drugs on the market: branded drugs and generic drugs. The branded drugs are the original drugs, developed, produced, and marketed by well-known manufacturers. The generic drugs, on the other hand, are copies of the brand drug. They are bioequivalent: they have the same effects, dosage, strength, intended use, side effects, and route of administration as the brand drug. A generic drug is chemically identical and works just like the original drug does, but its cost is much lower, making it the more preferable alternative for many patients.

When a pharmaceutical company develops a new brand drug, a patent is granted on the drug. This patent gives the original developer the sole right to manufacture and market the drug for as long as the patent is not outdated. As soon as the patent expires, any pharmaceutical company can ask FDA for approval to use the original manufacturer’s findings and the same chemical components to produce a generic drug that is identical to the brand drug.

Some people are afraid of using generic drugs because they are significantly cheaper. generic-brandThey consider that cheap products are often of lower quality than the more expensive ones. That is not the case. The generic drugs are just as effective and safe as the brand drugs. In fact, there is a credible explanation for the low price. The original manufacturer had to spend a great deal of money on developing and marketing the new drug. The generic drugs, on the other hand, have no need for that. All the information, studies, and developments have already been done. All they need to do is produce the drug. This saves a great deal of money and makes it possible for the makers of the generic drugs to sell them at more affordable prices. In fact, the Congressional Budget Office has determined that the generic drugs save consumers approximately 8-10 billion dollars annually when the drugs are bought at retail pharmacies.

Safety and Effectiveness
It is no secret that the safety and effectiveness of the generic drug is identical to that of the brand drug. It has the same chemical components, effects, side effects, etc. A generic drug can only be sold after it gets the approval of the FDA. The FDA can only grant its approval only after the drugs prove to be just as safe and effective as the original branded drug. Thus, by purchasing a generic drug, you purchase a drug that is identical to the brand drug, yet is much more affordable.

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