You see, most times, when you visit your doctor, they give you a prescription for a brand-name drug. You take that prescription to a pharmacist, and they inform you there’s a generic version of the same drug. Which one would you choose? Much of the time, the generic might be the better decision — however, not 100% of the time.
With the price of prescription medicines soaring today, generic drugs offer a thrifty alternative for consumers. However, numerous individuals fail to see how these two drugs differ or are skeptical about the whole idea of generic drugs.
Therefore, here’s everything you need to learn about generic medicines.
Generic medicines contain the same active ingredients (the ingredient which is supposed to cure the medical condition) in the same measure, quality, performance, quantity, and dosage as a brand-name medicine but are not a branded medicine.
Therefore, generic medicines affect the body the same way while curing the disease as the branded medicine. Thus, you will see the same side effects in both generic and brand-name medications.
That said, generic medicine is marketed and sold with different names and may contain other inactive ingredients. Inactive ingredients are the ones that give the drug shape, color, taste, smell, texture, etc., but don’t affect the curing conditions or change the safety or effectiveness of the medicine.
Nevertheless, don’t conflate generic drugs with counterfeit prescriptions, illicit reproductions of branded medications that might or might not include the same active ingredients.
A good example of generic medicine is metformin, known to lower glucose levels in diabetes. Metformin is the generic version of Glucophage. Similarly, paracetamol is the generic form of a drug that is available under the brand name Crocin.
What is FDA’s Take On Generic Medicines?
According to FDA’s (United States Food and Drug Administration) guidelines, the generic drug must contain the same active ingredient as its brand-name medicine counterpart. Moreover, the dosage, condition of use, safety, precautions, strength, and quality must be the same.
Generally, generic drugs are bioequivalent to brand-name medicine. This means there is no considerable distinction between the two medications as far as the rate and absorption are concerned. If there is a distinction, it is intended or not medically imperative.
So long as the FDA measures are met, a generic drug might be advertised when the patent insurance ends, or the patent proprietor forgoes its privileges. Once a generic drug is accessible, the medicine price is lowered significantly for both the generic and the branded product, thanks to the competitive nature of the medicine market.
Why Are Generic Drugs So Cheap?
Each medication that has been created by the original organization has patent security, which goes on for a variable measure of time, contingent upon the molecule. In India, patent protection for companies lasts for twenty years.
Be that as it may, these patent protections apply before the clinical trials, and safety testing has begun, meaning the effective patent rights of the drug that starts after the medicine has been approved for human use may last only seven to twelve years.
Therefore, most medications, especially the life-saving ones, are then made and sold as generic medicines. As we know that once generic drugs are available, the price plunges massively due to the competition.
Need of Generic Medicine?
Since brand-name medicine is generally too expensive and becomes hard for an ordinary person to afford, the need for generic drugs rises. Around 2 billion people lack access to life-saving medicines due to high costs.
Generic medicines are typically sold at 80 to 85% less than the price of the original drug. Generic drugs have saved the US healthcare system about $2.2 trillion from 2009 to 2019 — according to IMS Health Institute.
With the growth of fatal diseases across the world, generic medicine plays a vital role. The number of generic drugs distributed across India is incrementing. The move is supported by the government to encourage generic medicine as they are a lot cheaper. Using generic medicine can prove to be beneficial for consumers and pharmacies.
How to Identify Generic Medicine?
As mentioned before, generic medicine has the same active ingredient composition as branded medicines. One of the most significant factors in identifying the drug is the price tag. Typically, the branded medicine will have a higher price (about 80 to 85%, which is massive) than its generic counterpart.
Branded companies MRP primarily includes the cost of production, marketing, and commission. Therefore, they mostly lure doctors and medical shop owners to recommend their branded drug by paying them commissions. Thus, the majority of doctors and pharmacists prefer to sell brand-name medicine rather than the generic version.
You can simply contact your doctor and pharmacist, ask them the cheaper alternative, or google the prescribed generic drug version. However, make sure that you inform your doctor about the medicine you plan to take to avoid any mishaps.
Not just that, but the best way to tell the difference between a generic medicine and branded medicine is the shape, color, taste, inactive ingredients, flavor, and packaging. Due to laws and trademarks, generic medicines cannot look the same as the original medicine.
Difference Between Generic Medicine and Branded Medicine?
You have been reading terms like branded medicine and generic medicine, but what do they represent? What is the meaning of those terms? And what is the difference between both? The answer is articulated below.
What Are Branded Medicines?
Branded-medicines are generally thought to be “original,” In a way, there is some reality to this. They are the first of their kind, with a drug organization regularly going through exploration, advancement, and clinical preliminaries to make it accessible to the general public.
It is the original product developed by the company and has undergone rigorous tests, evaluations, and trials to ensure that it is safe for human consumption. When the company creates its original medicine, the FDA permits that organization to be the only creator and dealer of that medication for a set timeframe. This allows the organization to recover the cash it spent creating and promoting the medicines with no contest.
When a drug organization is given the permit of marketing, making, and selling, the medication has a patent.
Once the patent is granted, nobody else can create a medication equivalent to the patent medicine for some time; the drug is exclusive to the original organization. Therefore, branded drugs are the most trusted and well-known types.
Advantages of Branded Medicines:-
- Pioneer Medicine:- Branded medicines are generally the first of their sort and have undergone and passed rigorous tests to ensure the safety and efficiency of the drug.
- Absorption Rate:- Albeit it is extremely seldom, there might be a slight possibility that your body may absorb and ingest the branded drugs better.
- Well-Known and Trusted:- Since the product is the first of its kind, the trust becomes higher. The companies even spend in branding and advertising to gain more trust and recognition.
Disadvantages of Branded Medicines:-
- Price:- Branded medicines are costly, as the company spends millions of dollars for clinical trials, research, and development of the drug.
- Insurance:- Generally, health insurance companies tend to discourage the use of brand-name drugs due to their high cost.
What Are Generic Medicines?
Generic medicines are the copycat version of the original drug. When the patent timeframe expires, the original companies who developed the product have no exclusive privileges to manufacture and distribute the drug. This is where other pharmaceutical organizations can create their own variants of the same medicine.
The quantity and type of active ingredients present in the generic medicine are the same as its original product. However, the inactive ingredients slightly differ. The generic versions are sold under different names, shapes, colors, smells, textures, and so forth.
That said, generic medicines should be endorsed by the FDA before they can be made accessible to patients. However, they go through an alternate approval measure than the standard one for original drugs.
Advantages of Generic Medicines:-
- Quality:- Generic medicines are replicas of the branded medicines.
- Cost:- Generic drugs cost way less (80 to 85%) than brand-name medicine.
- Promptly Available:- Since the makers have access to the ingredients, they are effectively accessible.
- FDA Endorsed:- FDA cross-checks the safety, use, dosage, and manufacturing practices of generic medicines, and they continue to monitor, even after the drug is out in the market.
Disadvantages of Generic Medicines:-
- Look:- If you are dealing with many capsules, you may inadvertently mix your pills as the generic ones don’t have a branded look or distinction.
- Absorption Rate:- Very rarely, generic medicine may not do well for some people. Their bodies may absorb differently due to how the pill is made or coated.
- Type:- You may not be advised to get the narrow therapeutic index drugs, where minute differences of dosage or formulation can trigger reactions—for instance, thyroid injection or lithium.
What Are Pseudo-Generic Medicines?
A Pseudo-Generic drug isn’t a redo of the original product. Instead, it is a reproduction. It is manufactured by the same organizations with the same fixings, with the only distinction in name and packaging.
These drugs are advertised by the same company with a different name but the same price as the original. The pharmaceutical companies play this trick to fight generic medicines’ competition and discourage other companies from entering the market for the same drug.
What Assures the Safety of Generic Drugs?
As we mentioned before, generic medicines need approval from the FDA. To get the endorsement from FDA, the company producing generic drugs must present that their version is the same as branded medicine in different ways.
- Active ingredients
- What it is used for
- How is it consumed
- How long is the shelf life
- What form
- How do our bodies absorb it
Generic medicines can be different from the original product in ways that do not affect the efficacy and effectiveness of the drug. For instance, the color, shape, and taste can be different from generic medicine than its original counterpart.
However, the company must show that all the inactive ingredients used in the generic medicine are safe and produce the drug utilizing Current Good Manufacturing Practices (CGMPS).
By adhering to all the protocols, the generic medicine company proves FDA that its product is bioequivalent to the branded drug. Once they prove it and get the nod from FDA, the company does not have to repeat pricy and time-consuming clinical trials done by the original company. They don’t need to pay patent charges for it — which implies cheaper costs to produce and sell to the general population.
Once the generic drug is endorsed and accessible in the market, the FDA continues to scrutinize just like it does with the branded medicine. The FDA inspects the manufacturing plants to ensure the GMP is followed.
The company manufacturing generic versions is also supposed to appraise the FDA if there are any dangerous reactions or side effects reported by consumers.
Does Lower Price Tag of Generic Drugs Mean Lower Quality?
Absolutely not. Just because generic medicine is cheaper does not necessarily mean they are produced from low quality. As mentioned, the FDA regulates and monitors the manufacturing of these generic drugs. FDA endorses them once it passes the lab testing, making it safe to use like any branded drug.
Besides that, the companies charge less as they don’t have to splurge money performing clinical trials and advertising the drug. In addition, generic drugs create competition in the market, reducing the price of branded medicine.
If You Get Admitted to the Hospital, Would You Get Branded or Generic Medicine?
As of now, there are many generic versions of different brand-name drugs in many hospitals. However, each healthcare system or hospital has its own procedure to decide and evaluate medicines.
You may or may not get generic medicine, depending on your case. For instance, just because the FDA approves a particular generic drug, it does not mean that you’ll get the same. Many hospitals have a specific approval and review process for different medications, where many health experts and docs assess how effective, safe, and pricey they are.
Besides that, you can contact the doctor handling your case and directly ask them about the medicine. You can even check with the hospital itself.
When Not to Prefer Generic Medicines?
Generally, for most, substituting a generic version of a branded medicine is safe. However, you should not change the drug if the following conditions apply to you.
- You feel cynical and are anxious for the change
- Your physician explicitly informs you not to change the branded medicine
- You are allergic to any of the inactive ingredients present in the generic drug
- You are on multiple pills and are most likely to mix up if new medicine substitutes one of them
- You are on narrow therapeutic index drugs
How to Buy Generic Medicines Online?
Ordering a medicine is now easy and fast, thanks to the rise of online pharmacy stores. Many online drug stores offer medicines at a cheaper rate to deal with the competition of offline stores. Though affordable medicines are excellent for those without health insurance, they can be only convenient and practical if purchased from a legitimate pharmacy.
Many a time, many online stores are not genuine, and once you send them your hard earn money, you will never hear from them again. Therefore, here are some tips for purchasing generic medicines online.
Do Your Due Diligence
You might be constrained to purchase your medicines online, and in such a case, you must ensure that the website you are choosing is trusted and well-known. You must look for brands that offer the name for both its generic version and branded drug.
An excellent place to start is by reading online reviews about the companies you are planning to purchase. It will give a good idea about some of the best and nefarious companies. Go through feedback and online reviews, compare the prices, quality, and delivery, evaluate all the options, and get the value for your money.
A legal pharmacy will always have a licensed pharmacist responsible for answering all the qualms and concerns of the customer regarding the generic drug available for sale. Such legal pharmacies will always request a prescription from a doctor before shipping your order. It is illicit to purchase any prescription drugs without any prescription from a registered doctor.
Schedule and Delivery
Make sure that the online store is delivering your order as soon as possible. It should be no more than two weeks, or it is better to look for another store that provides you faster. Also, check how the company delivers and handles delivery logistics, as sometimes you might get expired, damaged, or open products. Don’t use the drug in such conditions.
Sometimes purchasing from foreign pharmacies is considered unlawful and might be prohibited from blocklisted suppliers. Therefore, ensure the drugs you are purchasing from are regulated and approved by the agency.
Always be cautious when purchasing from online drug stores. Just buy from stores with an enormous customer base. You may repent purchasing from online stores on the off chance that you don’t avoid the potential risk referenced previously. Subsequently, take as much time as necessary, track down the most dependable drug specialist on the web, and purchase prescriptions inexpensively.
How to Find Generic Medicine in India and Save Money?
Not all can afford expensive medicine, and thus generic drugs play an imperative role. To save your time, research, and money, here is a list of websites that sell generic drugs, and we have also mentioned the list of websites that provide drug information, including the brand name of generic medicine.
For drug information, visit here!
The above-listed websites will help you to find generic medicine easily and save a whole lot of money. Besides that, you can always visit offline pharmacy stores near you to get some deals or products.
Best Generic Medicine Company in India
You must also be acquainted with the best generic medicine companies in India. When purchasing one, you can pick the drug without any safety or legitimate concerns if the brand name appears. Here is the list of top generic pharma companies.
- Teva Pharmaceutical Industries: A company established in 1901 and is leading in India till now. Their generic medicines provide all the critical things a consumer looks for.
- Wockhardt Pharmaceutical: Founded in the early 1960s, Wockhardt is a global biotechnology and pharmaceutical industry. It is a multinational trustworthy Indian company with exponential growth.
- Sandoz, A Novartis Division: A renowned company and global leader in delivering and manufacturing generic drugs. Runs 30 manufacturing sites and is the top generic pharma organization in India with a number 1 global ranking.
- Fresenius Kabi: This company was founded in 1955 and has been delivering quality generic medicines for years. It specializes in lifesaving medicines and provides products in more than 100 countries, including India.
- Endo Pharmaceuticals Inc.: The company found its ground in 1997 and provides various generic therapeutic drugs. The company is one of the preeminent pharma industries in India.
- Torque: This company was founded in 1985 and provides an extensive portfolio of safe and effective generic drugs. The company has taken a good leap in global presence and production and thus is one of the fastest-growing pharma companies.
- Hospira: A global pharma company manufacturing generic medicines of high-quality but low cost. The company got the title of the world leader in generic injectable pharmaceuticals in 2007.
- Zydus Cadila: A company headquartered in Ahmedabad, India — ranks 4th amongst the best Indian pharma companies. It was founded in 1952 and is growing its presence, drugs, and quality since then.
Satyamev Jayate has also Explained About it:
Verdict — Which One is Better?
The decision boils down to the necessities of particular customers. Much of the time, many people find serenity and comfort while using brand-name drugs. Howbeit, the cost also plays an essential role, as most medicines come costly, working in favor of generic drugs.
It is wiser to talk with your doc who can shed light on the one better according to your health condition and illness. It relies upon how the individual’s body reacts and how fragile the therapy for an affliction or infection will be.
There is no reasonable winner between brand name and generic medications, so think about the advantages and disadvantages prior to buying. On the off chance that questions emerge, it is ideal to talk with a doctor.