In simple terms, a generic drug is a copy of a brand-name drug and is essentially its equal in performance, quality, and intention. Note carefully that a generic drug is a “copy,” not a “fake.” Generic drugs are just as effective as brand-name drugs, the only difference lies in their price. Generic drugs are much less expensive than brand-name drugs.
In industries such as fashion and clothing, the best clothes are often the branded designer clothes that sell for high prices. In the world of medicine, there is essentially no difference between branded and non-branded medicine. In almost all instances, you should go for the generic version of a drug whenever it is available. This will translate into huge savings for you.
While pharmaceutical companies would have you believe that generic drugs are somehow inferior to their branded counterparts, nothing can be further from the truth. In the first place, the production of generic drugs is heavily regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, also known as the FDA.
The FDA sets strict standards when it comes to generic drugs. Generic drugs must contain the same active ingredients that their more expensive counterparts contain, they must be proven to work on the body in the same way, and they must carry the same risks and benefits that branded medicines have. If the generic drug fails any of these tests, it will not be made available to the public.
So why then are generic drugs less expensive? In a word, research expenses. When a pharmaceutical company develops a drug, it must first conduct some research into its properties, etc. This requires money and a lot of time. When a company does make a medicinal breakthrough, they are rewarded with a 20-year patent to sell that medicine exclusively. This will allows the company to recoup the costs it incurred while doing research, and gives it a long enough time period in which to profit from its invention. After the patent expires, however, competitors are allowed to copy the drug and sell generic versions, but only after they have been thoroughly screened by the FDA.
Disclaimer: Cliff Schaffer does not personally endorse or support any of the comments made within the writings of this article.