If you go to a medical store you’ll find quite a few generic drugs available over the counter or under prescription which work as a substitute to the medicine prescribed by your doctor. These medicines work the same way as the original. So, what is the difference between a generic drug and the branded original drug? Let us have a look here.
What is a Generic Drug?
A generic drug is a duplicate or similar to the original branded drug in terms of composition, dosage, strength, usage, effects, side effects, safety, risks, quality, and performance characteristics. Although the medicinal effects of a generic medicine are identical to its branded counterpart, the cost of such a drug is typically low.
Generic medicines should not be compared to counterfeit medicines, which are the illegal copies, manufactured under strain or filthy environment and may or may not contain exact same active ingredient.
Once the original product’s patent expires, the pharmaceutical company that developed and manufactured the drug doesn’t have exclusivity rights to manufacture and distribute the medicine. So, any pharmaceutical company can make its copy, after taking all necessary approvals from the concerned medical authorities to manufacture the same.
Benefits of Generic Medicines
There are many advantages of generic medicines over their original counterpart.
- Cost benefit: The first and the foremost advantage is that the generic medicines are very reasonably priced in comparison to the original ones. It is a cheaper option for both the consumers and the government that pays a part of the medicine cost. This helps in more people actually taking the medicine prescribed by their physician.
- Safety and effectiveness: As generic drugs have the same active ingredient, same quality and same strength as the branded equivalent; these are equally safe, having the same efficacy.
- Quality: The chemical composition of a generic drug is bioequivalent to its original. Hence, there is no compromise on the quality of the product. As same ingredients are used to the exact measurement, a generic drug has the same effect on the body as induced by the original one.
- Therapeutic effect: The generic medicines have the same composition and active ingredients as the original branded medicine. Hence, it produces the same therapeutic effect.
Why were Generic Medications introduced in the Market?
Today, generic medicines are widely available in the market. At the same time, they are carefully regulated as well. Any generic medicine has to pass government regulations to ensure its safety and efficacy.
The need for bringing generic drugs in the market arose with the desire to make medicines becomes accessible to more people and to provide better health care to people at large. A person belonging to lower class might not be able to buy an expensive medicine. However, if the same is available for less than half the price, the probability of his buying the medicine increases manifolds.
Branded medicines are usually expensive, because they carry the baggage of research, development, trials and patents. Generic drugs are just the duplicate versions of the original ones; hence the cost of research, development and patent rights is omitted. At present, generic drugs account for about 50% of all prescriptions, making it a huge relief for the consumers.