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Generic Drugs: What are their advantages over brand name medications?

Generics are drug products usually interchangeable with brand name medications and are marketed after the patent for the latter has expired. Generics measure up to original products in terms of efficacy, intended use, route of administration, strength and dosage form, but are much cheaper than originals thanks to elimination of license payments, clinical trials and development costs. When buying original product we overpay for the ‘name’ and promotional expenditures the manufacturer incurred; whereas generics are marketed without advertising. See for yourself: the price for 1 generic pill is 0,5 – 0,7 cent, while the price for 1 pill of a brand name medication usually is  $5-10. Top pharmaceutical companies spend millions of dollars for advertising and it is natural that they want to return the invested money.

The main ingredients in both – original and generic – drugs are identical, i.e. they are bioequivalent in terms of pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic properties, and both drugs are produced under the same good manufacturing practice standards. Tabletting excipients may vary, as well as the shape, color and flavor of the pills, as far as trademark law prohibits generic drugs to look the same as brand name medications.

As a rule generic drugs are produced in the countries where taxes are significantly low – one more reason for their cheap price. The World Health Organization pursues the policy of generics’ production and use. It has been proven that competition between brand name pharmaceutical companies and generic manufacturers is more effective than negotiations with pharma companies to cut down prices for the medications, especially those for HIV/AIDS treatment.   All this makes generics be the drugs of choice, and often they are the only medicines the poor can access. And notwithstanding the fact that concerned companies try to tar the brand name analogues, they have truly demonstrated that it is just an adverse publicity.

Millions of people have already made their choice, they cannot be mistaken. Judge by the results, not by what questionable sources say.


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