Generic Drugs and What You Should Know About Them
With the constantly rising costs that people face every day, it is then but understandable why people turn to generics instead of going for branded medication. The question that may pop into your mind when it comes to this is "Are generic drugs more than just low-cost medication?".
What makes generic drugs different from branded medication and what are the similarities between these two?
Generics and branded products come in many guises. These do not cover only medication. These cover other products as well. To help you understand this better, here is an example of a branded product and a generic product. Dell is a brand, and the generic product that can be partnered with this is a computer.
When you talk about generic drugs, you are basically talking about medications that come with the same ingredients as the branded pills that serve the same purpose. These generic drugs come with the same formulation and can come in the same strengths and dosages as the branded ones.
What makes these two different from one another, aside from the price, is the tag or brand name that comes with branded medicines. Branded pills come with a color, a shape, and a logo that helps people easily associate the brand with the pill. Generic medications, on the other hand, cannot use the same shape, name, and color of the branded pill due to trademark rules. Despite all these however, both the branded and the generic drug share what is important and that is the formulation.
Are Generic Drugs as Trustworthy as Brand Name Drugs?
One of the things that most people wonder about when comparisons are made between generics and brand name drugs is the reliability of these generic pills. Are generics really as dependable as their brand name counterparts? To answer this question, let us find out what the differences and similarities are when it comes to these two.
- When it comes to the name, color, and shape of these two, they are different.
- When it comes to the dosage, active ingredients, and the effects of these two, they are the same.
- When you check for FDA approval, branded drugs are FDA approved, while generics are Indian FDA approved and go through the same rigid and stringent testing standards as branded drugs.
- When it comes to pricing however, branded drugs are more expensive than generics. Generics cost lower than these branded choices because no money is spent to market these drugs and to advertise them.
Basically, generic drugs are at par with brand name drugs when it comes to their efficacy. This also means that whatever side effects that branded pills come with, generic drugs also come with these.
Do FDA Regulations Cover Generic Drugs?
Much like their branded counterparts, generic drugs are regulated and approved by the FDA. The Food and Drug Administration or FDA protects consumers as well as regulates the market by inspecting the products that drug manufacturers make and by disallowing the distribution of drugs that do not meet their strict standards. The manufacturing plants that produce these drugs also undergo thorough inspections and scrutiny by the FDA and this is to help ensure that these comply with existing FDA standards.
Annual inspections of these drug-manufacturing plants lead to the creation of medications that are ideal for use by the public. These inspections also help manufacturers improve their manufacturing methods and help them produce better medicines that can meet the regulatory approvals of other agencies as well.
Do Generic Drugs Come with Patents?
While generic drugs are not patented, this does not mean that they are less reliable. Patents also do not guarantee you that these branded drugs are more reliable than their generic counterparts. What a patent does is it protects a manufacturer's rights to produce a certain drug for a certain amount of time without others using the same formulation that they spent money on to research and develop.
Patents come with expiration dates however, and this means that once the patent expires, other manufacturers can now produce generic versions of these medications. Most of the applied patents for drug products in the U.S. run for twenty years. Take away from this the number of years it takes to do clinical trials and the testing phase after patent approval and drug companies are left with 12 to 7 years to exclusively produce their patented drug.
Generic drugs are produced not only because patents expire. These can also be produced for other reasons like:
- There is no patent for the drug from the very start.
- The said patent is actually hard to enforce or is invalid.
- The drug is produced in a country where U.S. patent laws are not enforced.
How Come Generic Drugs Cost Less Than Branded Drugs?
There are many reasons why generic drugs are cheaper than their branded counterparts. One of the main reasons for such a drop in prices is the absence of the need to do research on the drug's formulation. Most of the branded drugs that are patented by their manufacturers get patented because these have already undergone extensive research and have proven to be effective for what they are made for. Getting a patent on these formulations assures a drug company that they can earn from these drugs that they spent a lot of money on before others can actually try to make these themselves.
Another reason why generic drugs are easier on the budget is because of the fact that most of these drugs are manufactured offshore and are being sold online. This lowers down the cost even more since manufacturing costs in other countries outside of the U.S. are lower and selling online also cuts down on expensive advertising and marketing campaigns.
Generic medications cost less than branded ones. With around 44% of branded drugs in the U.S., it is quite easy for a person to look for a cheaper alternative to the medicines that they need. If you are thinking of saving money on medical costs, you should ask your doctors for generic alternatives to the prescription medication that they give you. You will find that you can get your much needed medication without having to break the bank, so to speak, with the use of generics.
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