Generic Drugs Or Brand-Name Originals – What to Choose?
Before getting into the merits of the case, it is necessary to find out a little about generic drugs. When a pharmaceutical company brings out a drug, that company is the only one that may produce the drug in the same country for a fixed number of years.
When this time passes, other pharmaceutical companies can make the same drug and this is how we receive generic drugs. The original drugs are called brand-name drugs. The truth is that generic drugs are copies of brand-name drugs and have the same features: strength, dosage, effects, side effects. Its pharmacological effects are precisely the same as effects of brand-name medicines. Sildenafil citrate, commonly known as a brand-name medicine Viagra, is an excellent example of generic drug.
The feature of generic drugs that cause confusion in the poeple is their cost. Such drugs are usually definitely cheaper than brand-name originals. And it immediately rises the suspicion if they really are of the same effectiveness, quality and safety.
Generic medicine can be legally manufactured under the following circumstances
– where the patent of the company that produced original drug has expired,
– where the company that wants to produce generic drug proves that the patent of brand company will not be infringed or is invalid or unenforceable,
– if the brand-name drug is not patented, or
– in countries where the patent is not in force.
The main reason for the lower cost of generic medicine is that they are produced by smaller pharmaceutical companies which are not able to invest in research and development of own new drugs. The large pharmaceutical companies bringing a new medicine to the market invest huge money in the significant research and development. And this is often regarded to be a reason for the high cost of new medicine – the companies want to recover their costs before the patent expires. Manufacturers of generic drugs do not incur such high costs so they are able to charge considerably less than the brand company.
Effectiveness and safety
The US FDA standards require that generic drugs have to be as effective and safe as brand-name originals. The FDA has the same standards for all drug producing facilities, and many companies produce brand-name drugs as well as generic drugs. So the conclusion is that there is no truth in the reports that generic medicine are produced in poor-quality facilities or are of worse quality than brand-name originals. In fact, the FDA calculates that 50% of generic drug production belongs to brand-name companies.
Next common misbelief is that generic medicine need more time to work. The requirements of FDA guidelines are the same for both brand-name drugs and generic drugs: they have to work in the same way as well as in the same amount of time.
The US trademark laws do not permit generic drugs to look exactly like their brand-name originals. However, a generic drug must contain the same active ingredients to assure the same efficacy. There may be differences in flavors, colors, and certain other inactive ingredients as the generic drug has to respect the trademark laws.