When you are considering a generic version of your prescription, talk to your pharmacist about the differences before you make a decision.
If you have long wondered about the difference between brand name and generic medicines, you are not alone. It is a subject that comes up often during consultations with our pharmacy customers. While each type serves the same purpose, generics are usually significantly cheaper than brand name drugs. But in some cases, generic versions of your prescription are not available. Your body make not even react the same way if you were to switch to an available generic version. So, what are the main differences and which should you choose?
The Competition Between Brands and Generics
Brand name drugs are usually patented and protected for the first twenty years of their existence on the market. After this time, other companies can attempt to replicate the ingredients of the drugs and create a version that sells at a much cheaper price in order to compete. Sometimes, you can save up to 80% by opting for the generic version of a medicine. While some will argue that “knock-off” generic drugs must be lower quality than brand names, both have to meet the FDA’s stringet quality and safety standards.
On average, generic drugs are much more affordable and save Americans upwards of $158 billion per year. But not every brand name drug does have a generic counterpart. You can search for a generic version of your medication by checking out the FDA catalog of approved drug products.
The Difference Between Name Brand and Generic Drugs
In terms of effectiveness, generic drugs are just as powerful and safe as brand name versions. They are consumed in the same manner and require FDA-approved ingredients and labeling. After a drug company submits a generic drug application for approval, it can be developed under patent protection until it meets the FDA’s standards. Generic drugs must contain the same active ingredients as the brand name drug, have the same dosage strength, and have the same route of administration, purity, and overall quality.
If you are looking to switch from a brand name drug to a generic drug, however, you must use caution. The FDA rates drugs on their therapeutic equivalence (their effect on your body and how your body processes it) to another pharmaceutically equivalent product. So when a generic drug is released, it can be FDA-approved, but rated as an A or B in comparison to the name brand drug available.
An A-rating indicates the product is therapeutically equivalent, a B-rating indicates that the product has a slight difference. While a generic and name brand drug may have the same active ingredients, inactive ingredients may be making a difference in how your body could process them. In some cases, this means that your pharmacist may not recommend switching to a generic medication if your body reacts well to the name brand drug you currently take. They may not even recommend switching from one generic to another, depending on the drug’s chemical make-up.
If you have a new prescription or any questions about your existing prescriptions, do not hesitate to contact the pharmacy at Smith-Caldwell Drug Store at 501-392-5470. Our pharmacists can address any concerns that you may have and help you decide if a generic or a brand name drug is best for your individual health situation.