The battle between generic drugs and brand drugs has been going on from time immemorial. Some say generic is better and some say branded is better. People who are of the view that generic drugs are better say that it is many times cheaper than branded drugs. In other words, why should they go for a costlier medicine of the same quality when it is available for a low cost.
On the other hand, people who prefer branded medicines say that though generic drugs are cheaper they come at a cost, that is, a big compromise in quality and safety. Simply put, they must be of inferior quality, or not made quite properly as per the standard guidelines. In fact, many among them term it as dangerous medicines. Thus, these people are ready to shell extra bucks to make sure they get both the quality as well as safety.
After considering the arguments of each party lets delve into who is right and who is wrong on what grounds.
A peek into facts about branded drugs and generic drugs
Branded drugs go through a series of process before getting launched in market. It all starts with research process which consumes a lot of time, followed by a procedure to get an approval from FDA (Food and drug administration). In fact, it costs one company a bomb – an average of $800 million – and in a span of three years, only one new drug is manufactured due to all processes. Upon that, if the FDA shoots it down its proposal in the final stages of trials, the drug maker has to bear a huge loss. To sum up, drug makers who introduce new drugs must have to put up with the humungous costs for research and development, manufacture, marketing, and distribution of the drug. This is the big price that branded drugs have to pay for bringing their drug in the market.
In consideration to this, the government grants a patent for certain period on each new drug that successfully goes through the clinical trials for safety and effectiveness. To be more specific, a patent is granted to them; typically, 20 years, dating from the time of manufacture, and nobody is allowed to manufacture generic medicine with same formulation for that time.
Generic drugs are manufactured by the companies when patent of a branded drug expires. The biggest advantage for costumers regarding generic drugs is its price. Generic drugs are available at a lower cost as compared to branded drugs. Also, generic drugs are manufactured as per same set of guidelines and under same kind of facilities. This is because regulations prohibit them from doing otherwise.
Why some believe generic drugs are dangerous?
Due to low cost of the generic versions, many are of the view that generic drugs undergo comprise in quality and safety, which may cause undesired side effects to them. In simple words, cheapened ingredients are used in generic variants. This is not true always.
Can generic drugs be purchased?
Yes, if it follows the regulations set by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration). It makes sense to spend far less money and get a generic form rather than buying a branded one. However, there are occasional exceptions when one should go for branded medicines; especially, in case of diseases such as cancer and many bacterial infections.