When you have left a prescription at the pharmacy you may have been asked whether you would like to take a generic medication. Many people do not really understand what this means and so they decide to err on the side of caution and stick to the brand name drug. If you do take a regular medication, then it is worth knowing about generic drugs and whether they may be suitable for you.
There are new medications that are being constantly researched and developed by pharmaceutical companies. When they have come up with a new medicine that they want to release, they have to patent it and have it approved for use by the FDA. Having a patent stops other companies from developing the same medications and protects the original company’s significant financial investment.
When the drug patent is nearing expiration, other companies can then apply to be allowed to manufacture that medication too. The drugs that
are manufactured by companies other than the one that created the drug are known as generics. These are composed the same way as the original medicine, but they are less expensive for the consumer to buy at the point of sale.
There are a few reasons the costs are lower on generic medications. The first is that developing medications is expensive and the company has to recoup the costs they incurred in creating the medicine. Next there are usually high marketing and advertising costs that are associated with a new medication. Advertising is done to the public, as well as to health professionals such as doctors and pharmacists. There are medical representatives who are sent to visit them and leave samples and merchandising materials.
Some people believe that because the generic is cheaper to buy the quality must be lower. This is not the case at all. The company cannot make the generic without having the approval of the FDA. To get this they have to go through an involved process that shows they meet the manufacturing requirements.
There are a couple of other misconceptions people have about generic drugs. One of these is that they are not as strong or that they take a longer time to be absorbed and work in your body: this is untrue, they work in exactly the same way as the brand name does. Other people have the idea that the cheaper version is manufactured in sub-standard facilities to the brand version and this is also completely untrue.
Although the generic and the brand medications are chemically the same, they may look different. The laws relating to generics do not allow the drugs to look identical to each other. For this reason you might find they are different colors or shapes than the original medication.
There are many generic drugs that are available on prescription and they will save you money on the cost of your medicines. If you want to try generic drugs, then you could talk to your chemist about them when you visit the drug store next time. Alternatively you can talk to your doctor about them and make a decision from there.