Brand Name vs Generic Drugs: Which Is Better?

pills and bottle

Do you buy generic or store-brand products for your family?

Some off-brand crackers, cookies, and sodas taste exactly the same as their name-brand counterparts, while others are decidedly inferior knockoffs. Chances are that you’ve learned through trial and error exactly which is which! 

Of course, there are also plenty of people who turn up their noses at generics and insist on paying a premium for grocery items. That’s especially true when it comes to prescription medications. Today we’re exploring the differences of brand name vs generic drugs. 

What Are Generic Drugs?

Pharmaceutical companies spend an enormous amount of money developing, testing and marketing a new medication. When it’s time to release the drug to the public, they take out a patent on it. That is to prevent other manufacturers from producing the same drug. 

When the patent runs out, any company has the right to manufacture that medication and sell it as a generic. And because they didn’t invest in bringing it to market, they don’t need to charge patients nearly as much as the original manufacturer did. 

Are They Different From the Original Drug?

No, not at all. It turns out that generic meds have exactly the same dosage, strength, effectiveness, stability and quality as the brand-name versions. That means the side effects and risks are also identical to those of the original drug.

A lot of people think that generic drugs aren’t as potent as brand-name ones, or that they are otherwise inferior. But that simply isn’t the case. They may have a different appearance — shape, size, or color — but their substance is the same.

Who Makes Generic Drugs?

Would it surprise you to learn that generics are often manufactured at the same facility as the brand name drugs are? In many cases, the original manufacturer, who originally held the patent, will go on to produce both the name-brand drug and its generic equivalent. 

Interested in finding out if your medication has a generic equivalent? Ask your pharmacist or visit this website.

The Cost of Brand Name Vs Generic Drugs

According to the FDA, generics cost an average of 85% less than the original branded drug. That’s some serious savings! As explained above, this is because generic-drug manufacturers don’t have the high overhead associated with bringing a new medication to market.

Once the patent has expired, any company can apply for FDA approval to manufacture the drug — and many do. This translates to an atmosphere of free-market competition, thereby substantially lowering medication costs to patients.

In 2017, generic versions of prescription medications saved U.S. consumers a whopping $265 billion!

In the Final Analysis

As you can see, when it comes to the debate between brand name vs generic drugs, generics are the clear winner. They can save you big bucks on your family’s medication without compromising safety or effectiveness.

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