Are Generic Drugs Safe?
Generic drugs are the replicas of the original drugs with a similar composition, dosage, usage, side effects, effects, risks, route of administration, strength, and safety as the branded version. The medical effects are identical for both the drugs, the only difference lies in the brand name.
For instance, metformin is a generic version used for treating diabetes whereas Glucophage is the branded version of the drug. The generic version of Lopressor, a drug used for hypertension is metoprolol.
Why are generic drugs so cheap?
Many people are skeptical about generic drugs. They think that the effectiveness and the quality of the drugs have been compromised to make it so cheap.
Bursting myths about the generic versions
The generic versions of medicine are cheaper than the original ones because the producer does not need to spend any expenses associated with developing and marketing a new drug. When a company launches a new drug in the market, it has to spend a good amount of money on the development, research, promotion, and marketing of the drug. The original manufacturer is granted a patent that gives the company access to exclusively develop and sell the drug until the patent expires.
After the patent expires, other manufacturers can apply for permission to FDA for making and selling of the generic version of the original drug. The producers of the generic version do not need to spend any startup costs for research and development. Thus, these companies can afford to sell the drug at a cheaper rate. Moreover, they lower the price so as to sell more drugs compared to the other companies producing generic drugs.
So, it is not true that generic drugs are poorer in quality or are lesser in quality than the original versions. The manufacturers of both drugs have to go through the same quality checks and tests.
Another myth about the generic drugs is that it takes longer to show results compared to the original version. However, it is not at all true. Both the versions –generic and branded, are equal in effects. The generic versions are of a different color or may contain the different active ingredient than the original one. According to the trademark laws, the generic versions should not look exactly the same as the original ones, however, the active ingredient can be the same. This ensures the same effects and results.
You need to have a prescription to buy generic or branded drugs. Most people buy the branded versions of the drug because they are not aware of the generic ones. If you are consuming a drug on a daily basis, then it is sensible to buy the cheaper version of the drug. This way, you will save some bucks and get the same results.
When you may not want a generic version
Sometimes you should stick to the original version of the medicine because of the following reasons:
- Sometimes, the inactive ingredients of the generic versions do not absorb at a fast rate compared to the branded version. This may cause intolerance to the drug in some people.
- You may be allergic to the inactive components of the generic version of the drug. So, you must check the components of the drug before consuming it.
- In some cases, medical insurance only covers the branded version and not the generic version of the drug.
As the generic medicines are cheaper in cost, the insurance companies often prefer it. If you are currently using the branded version and change the health plan, your new plan may not cover it. This can also happen, if the generic version of the original one is approved, and the insurer formulary changes your health plan.
If you need the original version of the drug, but it is not included in your plan then your doctor may have to submit medical details to the insurer to show the requirement of the original one. In some cases, you first need to test the generic version of the drug. If the drug does not work for you, only then the insurer will include the branded version in your plan. However, your doctor will have to show the authentic reports.
Generic or Brand?
So, the main question is whether you should consume the original drug or the generic version. The short and simple answer is that you can replace your expensive drug with the cheaper version. The branded versions may not always be better than the generic ones. However, they are very expensive. Due to the high cost associated with the drug,
Many people skip the dosage, as they cannot afford the drug. So, in such a scenario, the generic version is a clear winner. Pharmacists are also required to give you the generic version unless mentioned otherwise by the doctor.
Also, there is no medical proof that states that the generic ones are less safe or effective than the cheaper version. The doctors prescribe and recommend these drugs, which is an authentication of the quality of the drug.
Many kinds of research performed on the generic version show that the no-name versions could save a lot of many and give you the same results as the original ones. Switching to a generic version will have no harm. However, in case you notice any worrying symptoms or signs you must immediately visit the doctor.
There are a few points that you should take from the discussion:
- Both the branded and the generic version of medicine contain the same active component. e.g Kamagra, Cenforce, Lovento all are generic viagra the same active component Sildenafil Citrate of a famous brand “Viagra“. Side effects, dosages, work, etc. are the same.
- The non-active components of both versions may differ. This does not affect the working of the drug, however, you should see if you are allergic to any component present in the drugs.
- In the case of some drugs, you must stick to the branded version, as they are more effective.
- There are many generic versions of a branded one. These may differ in size and color as different companies produce them. In case, of doubt or confusion, you must ask your pharmacist for a complete list of generic medicines.