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Difference Between Generic & Brand Name Medication - The ONE Most Important Thing You Need To Know


There are many questions regarding generic and brand name medication as people are trying to understand which one is better than the other. If this is the question that is plaguing you, here is the most important difference between two types of medicine explained:

1. What is Brand Name Medicine?

Any medicine that is sold under a brand name is researched, developed, named, approved by the FDA, patented and marketed by a pharmaceutical company that literally owns the drug. This whole process involves huge amounts of money. According to Journal of Health of Economics published in 2000, the amount of time involved from ground zero, until it reaches the market in this method was 10-15 years, which cost about US $800 million. This is the reason why the brand name medicine is always costlier than the generic medicine.

2. What Is Generic Medicine?

The same process is involved here. But the starting point is different. The pharmaceutical company in this case, waits until the patent life of the branded medicine expires and picks up the main active ingredient of the medicine. Now, it builds itself another medicine with this main active ingredient. It still has to be approved by the FDA and show that the medicine is manufactured with GMP (good manufacturing practices). At this point, it also has to prove that the generic medicine acts exactly as the original, i.e. it will be metabolized similarly in the body as the original.

The main ingredient(s) will remain the same; however, the pharmaceutical company can change the non-active ingredients, color, shape, taste; it cannot change the dosage or the concentration of main ingredients vis-à-vis dosage.

In this way, the FDA is convinced that both medicines are actually the same in terms of action. All the information presented to the FDA regarding the generic medication is published in a special journal called “Orange Book”. In this book you find the rating of the generic drug vis-à-vis its branded counterpart. The same information would also be available on the website of the FDA (http://www.fda.gov). Since this process is less expensive - comparatively - the generic drugs costs only a fraction of the price the branded name medicine demands.

Which One Is Better?

If you ask me, the generic medicine is the better one for one reason, i.e. it is easier on the pocket. Given the fact that both medicines are basically the same, the generic drug is preferred, especially when it has to be taken over a long period, or lifelong.