Prescription Medication Information

Generic Drugs

Generic drugs copy brand-name drugs in dosage, strength, safety, quality, performance and prescribed use.

Generic drugs are at times less expensive than their name brand counterparts, but contain the same active ingredient and must meet the same safety standards.

Are Generic Drugs Safe?
Generic drugs must meet the same safety standards as their name brand counterparts and are regulated by the FDA. Generic drugs contain the same active ingredient and have the same benefits and risks associated with name brand drugs.

Why Are Generic Drugs Cheaper?
Generic drug manufacturers do not have the same costs as the pharmaceutical company has when developing new drugs. These new drugs are researched and developed under the protection of a patent and this protects the companies interests and investment.

When patents are nearing expiration, other companies can apply to the FDA to manufacture and market generic versions of the patented drug. These manufacturers do not have the same research and development costs and can sell their versions at a discount.

Once generic drugs are available, there is greater competition which can help to maintain lower prices. Approximately 50% of the prescriptions filled in the United States today are generic drugs.

Why Do Generic Drugs Look Different?
Trademarks held by the name brand drug manufacturers do not allow generic drugs to look exactly the same.

A generic drug must however contain the same active ingredient. Inactive ingredients may vary by manufacturer as well as color and or flavor.

Are Generic Drugs Available for All Name Brand Drugs?
No. Generic equivalents are not always available due to the patent laws which extend the original patent holder protection for 20 years from the patent submission.

Once the patent expires, then other manufacturers can market generic versions of the drug after they have been tested and approved by the FDA.

Are Generic Drugs as Effective as Name Brand Drugs?
The FDA requires that generic drugs contain the same active ingredient in the same strength, quantity and quality as the name brand drug.

This information is intended to supplement, not substitute the expertise and judgment of your physician, pharmacist or other healthcare professional. It should not be construed to indicate that the use of generic drugs are safe, appropriate, or effective for you. Consult your healthcare professional before using generic drugs.

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