You have almost certainly have taken a generic drug at some point. Most prescriptions are dispensed with generics drugs. Generic drugs work just like brand-name drugs. The biggest difference in generics is that they are considerably cheaper. However are generic drugs safe?
How do generic drugs differ from brand-name drugs?
Generic drugs are copies of brand-name drugs. Generic drugs contain the same active medicinal ingredient as the brand name drug, and they are considered bioequivalent. If two products are said to be bioequivalent it means that they would be expected to be, for all intents and purposes, the same in terms of quality, purity, efficacy and safety. Generic drugs are typically less expensive. But there are some differences between generics and brand-name drugs. A generic drug may look or taste different than the brand-name version.
How safe are generic drugs?
Generic drug companies have to follow rules to make sure their drugs are safe. The generic drugs have to pass the same quality checks as brand-name drugs. Any problems with a generic drug or brand-name drug will be investigated by the FDA (for U.S. drugs) or Health Canada (for Canadian drugs) to make sure it is safe. Studies need to be done that compare the generic drug with the brand name drug. These are called “comparative bioavailability” studies. In these studies, the level of a active ingredient in the blood of a healthy human is measured. Each volunteer gets the brand name drug and the comparative generic drug. The generic drug must show that it delivers the same amount (concentration) of medicinal ingredient at the same rate as the brand name drug.
Why are they so much cheaper?
Generic drugs are cheaper because the generic manufacturer have not had the expenses of developing and marketing a new drug. Brand companies spend a fortune on research, development, marketing and advertising of the brand drug. When the patent is close to expiration, generic manufacturers apply to the FDA for permission to make and sell generic versions of the drug. They do not have these startup costs for development of a new drug, therefore they can afford to make and sell it more cheaply. When multiple companies begin producing and selling a drug competition among them can also drive the price down even further. The manufactures have to meet the same quality standards in the manufacturing process as brand companies and the same rules apply.
When should you call Your Canada Drug Store pharmacist?
- Ask your pharmacist if you have any questions about your generic drugs. It is important to check with your pharmacist if:
- your pills look different than before. This can happen if the pharmacist fills your prescription with a generic drug made by a different company. But, check with your pharmacist to be sure.
- your medicine is not working like it used to. Your pharmacist can look into why this might be happening.
- you are having a problem that you think is from your medicine. You may be sensitive to something that is in the generic drug, but not in the brand-name drug (e.g., different fillers colorings, sugars, etc). Your ycds.com pharmacist can help figure this out.
- Don’t stop taking your meds without first talking with your prescriber or pharmacist.
- If you need to stop a med, your pharmacist can work with your prescriber to find a good alternative.
The bottom line?
- Generic drugs are effective. Generic drugs are safe. Generics drugs provide the same health benefits as brand-name drugs, but cost a lot less money!