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Generic Medicines, Behind the Brand Name

Endless amounts of medicines are vended every day to patients across the world. From cancer treatments and contraceptives, to medications for relieving that annoying headache of yours, doctors prescribe one of two types of medicines that will be just right for your situation: generic or brand name. So what’s the difference? To put it simply, not much.

Some avid drug-buyers mayplain pill bottles for brand name versus generic claim that although they are typically more expensive, brand name medications are more effective and act quicker than generics when relieving symptoms. However, before completely crossing generic medicines off their list, patients should understand the real difference, or, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, lack of difference between the two.

In reality, generic brands are required to contain an equal amount, strength, and quality of the active ingredients that are used in brand name versions. In order to be approved by the FDA, generic medicines must also pass meticulous examinations which are identical to those taken by their highly-trusted brand name counterparts. These tests include ensuring that the generic drug works just as safely and effectively as the brand name version. Most generic medications are even produced in the same manufacturing sites as brand name drugs.

With all these similarities, the two types of medicines would be hard to distinguish from one another if it wasn’t for the product labeling, slightly varied inactive ingredients, and differences in prices that can be drastic. While low prices could indicate an inferior product, this does not seem to be the case for generic medicines. Generic drugs can sell on the market for more affordable prices since they do not use expensive marketing techniques and do not need to take part in pricey clinical trials. Recent findings even show that consumers who purchased generic medications saved over $158 billion in 2010.

So perhaps generic medications have been over-looked and undervalued by consumers today, and maybe brand name drugs are actually little more than fancy packaged products who rely on catchy advertising. Next time you are searching for a new addition to your medicine cabinet, don’t cringe at the thought of buying a generic medicine. Instead, remember that generics are just as safe and effective as their brand name counterparts, and could save you loads of money and even the pain of a headache!