Is there a difference between generic and branded drugs?

Is there a difference between generic and branded drugs?

Generic drugs do not differ greatly from their branded
equivalents. All drugs are carefully regulated in
exactly the same way to ensure they contain the
correct amount of active ingredient as well as
suitable inactive ingredients and are produced and
manufactured in a similar way.

The generic drug must be shown to be bioequivalent to
the branded alternative i.e. releases exactly the same
amount of active ingredient over the same time scale.

The differences often lie mostly in the presentation
of the drug for example a branded drug may produce
pills which have a nice colouring and flavour, whereas
the generic version will generally contain little more
than the active ingredient.

There should therefore be very little difference to
the patient between branded and generic drugs and both
have to go through the same regulators. Generics have
a few advantages however over the branded
alternatives.

The branded drug is often the first of it’s type to be
developed and so the company spends a lot of money on
developing, testing and patenting it’s new drug and
consequently they are more expensive.

Generic Drugs appear once a patent has expired or in
rare cases are different enough from the original to
get around the patent whilst still doing the same job.

Generic drug with just smaller development and
manufacture costs are often a lot cheaper and so are
far more likely to be prescribed. This affordability
also means increased availability especially to those
in poorer countries.