Generic drugs are basically the duplicates of medicines that have the same dose, almost the same formula, the same strength as that of the original medicine. In short, you can say that generic drugs are copies of the original medicines, and these are produced to fill the shortage of the original medicine. All the pharmacological results of the medicines are same, so you need not to worry about the change of branding. For instance, you must be familiar with the generic drug metformin which is a generic drug of Glucophage. A rule of medicine is that generic drugs are not capitalized while being mentioned, and only original brands are mentioned to figure out the difference. The best part about generic drugs is that they come for lesser money than the original brands. All generic drugs first must be certified and approved by the FDS, to check the quality of the drugs and that they do not cause any harm.
Basically, the generic drug of any brand should involve the same active ingredients as the original brand while also fulfilling the quality standards and guarantee of safety. Therefore, all generic drugs are tested and approved by FDA for production and selling. Some characteristics of generic drugs that should meet the standards of the original brand include same dosage, same strength, same effect and usage, same purpose as well as same side effects.
Health Guarantee of Generic Drugs
As per instructions of FDA, all drugs should be safe and effective whether they are brand drugs or generic drugs. Ideally, the effects and side effects of the generic drugs are same as those of the brand drugs. So, for people with allergies and sensitivity to medicines can use accordingly. The quality of the generic drug is the responsibility of FDA. They are responsible for reviewing and testing of the quality standards and safety of the drug for which, they have ensured a review process which assesses the chemical and scientific details of the ingredients of the drugs and what performance are they giving.
The FDA evaluates the production site of the generic drug as well, to check the standards of the manufacturing plants and is they meet the same quality standards to that of the brand drug. It is surprising to know that FDA ensures over 3500 on-site visits to inspect the manufacturing sites and have found that most generic drugs are produced the same brand drugs companies. They make their own copies of medicines to sell under a different name. But it is important to keep in mind that even with the same active ingredients of the generic drugs and brand drugs, even little differences can cause different side effects for some people. This can be due to the possibility that generic medication is different in terms of the inactive materials in the medication. For instance, the issue of generic drug and brand drug of levothyroxine is an example that can be discussed here. This drug was used for patients who suffer from the condition of low hypothyroidism. People with low thyroid conditions are very sensitive to changes and to the dosage of their brand drugs. The switch of generic vs. brand here caused them too many side effects.
All Brands Do Not Have Generic Drugs
It is a rule in the medicine industry to not implement the same packaging for generic and brand drugs. This can be a violation of the trademark rules in come countries, e.g. United States. There are some characteristics that should be similar of a generic drug to a brand drug e.g. the color of the medicine, the active ingredient, the dosage, however the shape might be different. Brand drugs are given protection by the medical laws for about two decades so that they are known for their formula, they benefit from the research that their company paid for, and for the expenses of the drug. These laws are present to prevent any other company from copying the company’s hard work and selling their brand drugs. Once the specified time-period has passed, another company can take the approval to develop the medicines’ generic version of the drug.
You might have heard of some medicines being short and are low on production, this is due to the patent. Brand drugs are less in market from so many years and come in low quantity without any generic version of the brand drug. In this case, when you are not finding the brand drug, you can consult the doctor to write another medicine which is an equivalent.
Generic Drugs Cost Less
The best thing about generic drugs is that these are easily available along with being less expensive than the brand drug. Developing a new medicine and bringing it to the market takes up a lot of time to develop trust among audience and is expensive as well as compared to taking the formula and license of production of a brand drug and creating a generic version of it. Once generic drugs are improved for a medicine, companies start getting approvals and make the generic drugs. Because of this manufacturing of medicine among different companies, the competition rises, and the prices are lowered. There does not even remain the need to spend your money on advertising.
Generic drugs usually cost around half of the brand drugs because these drugs do not require the expenses of testing, safety, effectiveness, chemicals etc. The main reason of the generic drugs costing less is the lack of research and time invested, as well as the competition in the pharmacological market.
Patients usually hesitate to start with generic drugs, although they are equivalent to the brand drugs. There remains no need to find any alternatives to the brand drug in case you are finding it because the generic equivalents are already there. An estimated amount of almost fifteen thousand generic drugs is present in the market which can be used easily without the worry of it causing any reactions.