1 year ago
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
Many Americans are frustrated and concerned with the high cost of prescription drugs. Generic forms of drugs offer consumers an alternative to the sticker shock of brand name drugs. The price of a generic drug is typically less than that of a brand name drug because the manufacturer does not have to complete the same research, development, and marketing process that the original drug manufacturer accomplished.
Before a generic drug is approved for use, the FDA requires that it has the same active ingredients, dosage form, administration route, strength, quality, purity, and stability as its brand name counterpart. Although they contain the same active ingredients, brand-name and generic drugs go by different names.
Mainly due to patent protection, not all medications have a generic equivalent commercially available. Drug manufacturers have to perform such extensive research and development that laws have been created to protect a brand name drug’s patent for a designated number of years. Once the patent expires, generic drugs may then enter the market. Brand name drug manufacturers actually often own generic drug companies.
Although brand name and generic drugs have the same active ingredients, their medication exteriors can vary due to inactive ingredients which can result in different colors, shapes, sizes, and flavors. It is always important to question your pharmacist if you feel uncomfortable about the medication that you picked up due to it having a different appearance from a previous prescription fill. The medication may look different because it is made by another manufacturer, or the generic form may now be commercially available.
In Texas, when a prescriber writes a prescription, it is generally filled with the generic drug if available unless the prescriber designates a brand name prescription as “dispense as written.” Most drug coverage plans require patients to utilize generic medications if available. If a patient chooses to fill a prescription with a brand name drug when a generic drug is available, many drug coverage plans will not cover the patient’s drug expense.
Although many brand name manufacturers try to show an advantage of using their brand name drug versus its generic rival, FDA regulations are in place to make sure the generic drug is providing the same quality of treatment to the patient. Generic drugs provide a safe alternative to brand name drugs and hopefully will have you smiling at your receipt the next time you visit your local pharmacy.
- Alisia Baker
Pharmacist at Texas Health Fort Worth
Source: U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
Posted by Whitney Jodry at 11:36 AM