I would go to the pharmacy with a prescription for a certain drug my Doctor prescribed, and end up getting back a prescription with a different name. I would ask the pharmacist about it to make sure I was getting the correct drug. Each time they would explain to me it was the generic version of the drug the Doctor prescribed. I recently did a study on generic drugs to see how much they really differ from the brand name prescriptions most Doctors prescribe. I felt it was important to get an understanding of this since it is a common practice for some insurance companies to only authorize the generic brands. Here is what I found out:
It costs quite a bit of time and money to develop a new drug. As a matter of fact, it can take up to 15 years to develop a new drug. Because of this, companies are allowed to receive a patent for the drug. This patent protects the manufacturers of the drug from having another company copy their drug. The patent, however, is only good for so many years. Once the patent expires, other companies are free to copy and produce their own version of the drug. These copies are called the generic form of the drug.
The original company that made the drug spent the money on advertising, etc. to get the word out about the drug that it created. We all know how expensive advertising costs can be. Once the patent expires, the population is already aware of the drug. So when companies begin to make copies (generic forms of the drug), they don’t need to spend any money on advertising. That makes the price of the generic drug 30%-80% less than the cost of the brand name drug. That means a $100 brand name bottle could cost only $20 in it’s generic form.
These generic drugs are often identical to their brand name counterparts. That makes the generic version just as effective as the original version. Generic drugs are also strictly regulated. So when you get a generic drug from your pharmacist you can rest assured that you are still receiving the best medical care that is proven both safe and effective.
According the US Food and Drug Administration, 76% of approved drugs now have generic counterparts. More and more are being produced each year. This can save patients and insurance companies a significant amount of money.
I hope this article has explained brand name drugs and generic drugs in a way that you can understand. I know after studying the subject that I am more comfortable taking the generic drugs verses spending the extra money for the name brand drug.