Prescription Drugs: Name Brand vs Generic

prescription vs generic drugs

Anytime you have picked up a prescription medication from your pharmacy you have likely noticed the clear price difference between the “name brand” and generic medicine.

You’ve probably also heard, from friends or even your pharmacist, that the generic and name brand prescriptions are interchangeable.

While it is impossible to speak for every prescription, we wanted to answer some of the common questions surrounding the majority of generic prescriptions.

How do I know generic medicine is effective?

The FDA states that “a generic medicine is the same as a brand-name medicine in dosage, safety, effectiveness, strength, stability, and quality, as well as in the way it is taken and should be used.”

These generic medications go through the same FDA approval process as the name brand medications do. They even include the same active ingredients.

Because of this, generic medicine has the same effect (even the same side effects) as the brand name medicine it is based on.

Why is there such a large cost difference?

When a new type of prescription drug is created patents and exclusivity protection keep it from facing any competition from generic medicines for a set amount of time. Once these patents end, generic medicines copy the brand name medication and almost always sell the generic medication at a lower price.

Because the name brand medication was the original creator of the drug, they carried the burden of the research and development costs to create the drug. The generic medication did not handle such a significant cost to bring their product to market. As a way to make up for that initial cost to develop the prescription, the name brand often has to continue charging a higher price.

How does this vary from generic vs name brand supplements?

Unlike prescription medications, supplements face far less testing and regulation by the FDA. This is not to say inexpensive supplements will make you ill, or negatively impact your health (though improper use or overconsumption of any supplement could) but you may receive minimal benefit from them.

Because of this limited testing, when it comes to supplements there are only certain brands our clinic recommends. If you are curious about learning more about supplements at our clinic, take a look here.