Brand Name & Generic Drugs
What is a generic medication?
Simply put, generic drugs are a copy of a brand name drug. They contain the same active chemical ingredient as the brand name equivalent. This chemical ingredient is what makes a drug have its effect.
Why do generics cost less than brand name drugs?
The main difference between brand name medications and generics is price. Generic companies do not spend the same amount of money on researching drugs as they produce previously invented products. They also spend less on marketing and advertising of their products. Also, once a patent has expired, multiple generic companies usually compete for market share. This drives the price down compared to when the brand name product had patent exclusivity.
How do generic medications compare in quality to brand name drugs?
Generic drugs are reviewed and approved by their national drug safety commission. In the United States, this body is the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Every country has a government body with similar responsibilities to the FDA.
United States = Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
Canada = Therapeutic Products Directorate (TPD)
United Kingdom = Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA)
Australia = Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA)
Israel = Israeli Ministry of Health
Ireland = Irish Medicines Board
Germany = Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices (BfArM)
These government bodies require generic drugs to have the same active ingredients and to be of the same strength. The drug dissolution, absorption, and elimination rates are also tested and must be considered therapeutically equivalent. Purity and stability testing is also performed, and manufacturing plants are regularly inspected. More information is available on how Health Canada monitors the safety of generic drugs, and the views of the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) on the importation of prescription drugs from Canada to the US.
Do generic drugs look the same as brand name drugs?
Usually, the generic equivalent looks very similar to the brand name when it comes to dosage form, color, and shape. The markings on the tablet are usually slightly different. However, sometimes generic drugs may look different from the brand name. While the external appearance may be different, the active ingredient is the same.
Do generic medications have the exact same ingredients?
Generic medicines have the same active ingredient in their product. However, it is possible that some inactive filler ingredients may be different. These filler ingredients can potentially cause a reaction in someone with an allergy to them. This is extremely rare. If you have an allergy to a filler ingredient, contact our pharmacists and they can provide a complete list of filler ingredients for generic or brand name medications.