Generics: Cheaper Drugs With The Same Active Ingredients

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If a generic medication is is identical - or bioequivalent - to a brand-name version, there is no meaningful difference between them in terms of the drug's safety and the way in which it works in the body. A bioequivalent generic drug is as safe and as effective as the brand-name version. The generic medicine must deliver the same amount of active ingredients into a patient's bloodstream in the same amount of time as the pioneer drug. Generics provide the same therapeutic benefits as brand drugs but cost less.

Almost every brand name medication has its generic bioequivalent. Greater use of generic drugs could save a lot of money for their consumers - money that would be better spent elsewhere. Much of the extra cost of brand name drugs falls on you. Advertising and promotion are also, no doubt, a major factor. Although generic drug companies perform research and development, they do not incur the same level of development costs that are associated with brand drugs. Generics contain different coloring agents, binders, and preservatives than the brand-name drug. Prescribing brand-name drugs when generic drugs are available generates unnecessary medical expenditures, the costs of which are borne by the public.

What does each active ingredient do? Active ingredients are components in a drug that provide some pharmaceutical value, in contrast with the inactive ingredients, which act as carriers to make the drug easier for the body to process. Inactive ingredients are also known as excipients. Active ingredients are very strong, and combining them with an excipient allows greater control over the dosage; without an excipient, a powerful pill might be the size of a pinhead, but with one, it can be formulated into a larger and more manageable size. Generally, less than 10% of a medicine is the active ingredient and the remainder are the excipients. The active ingredient in tablets and capsules is usually very small (from 0.5 mg to 100 mg) and must be bulked up to a size that is easy for patients to handle.

A generic drug is likely to be made in a different factory from the brand-name drug, with different quality-control mechanisms. The size, shape and colour of the two pills may also differ. Generic drug companies spend far less than brand companies on sales, advertising and promotion. Research suggests that people who use generics are more likely to stay on the drugs as directed, compared with those who use costlier brand-name drugs. Some generic medicinal products may not be placed on the market within years following the granting of the original marketing authorisation to the reference medicinal product. With healthcare costs continuing to rise, generic drugs are looking more attractive than ever. What is your experience with generic medications versus name brand products?

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