Generics – Are They A Good Alternative To Brand Drugs?

According to researchers, more than 20% of adult US citizens cannot afford to buy medications prescribed by their doctors. More to the point, over 13% of adult Americans report that they have a friend or a family member, who have died because of inability to pay for treatment prescribed by doctors. Those facts are horrifying, aren’t they? Consequently, both patients and doctors are constantly searching for solutions to this problem. And the most obvious variant is to switch to generics.

Generics ― an Affordable Alternative to Prescription Medications

First of all, let us define what generics are. Generics are the copies of brand medications, which are produced by other manufacturers.

generic and brand drugs

Generic medicines are very similar to originals:

  • They contain the same active ingredients.
  • They act in an identical way.
  • The selection of dosages is the same or wider.
  • If dosage strength is identical, a patient can take a generic in the same way as a brand drug.
  • Drug interactions, contraindications and side effects are the same. Meanwhile, in some cases manufacturers even manage to improve an original formula in order to reduce the amount of side effects or contraindications.

However, generics and brand drugs are not identical. In many cases they differ in:

  • Forms and colors. Certainly, that does not influence their mechanism of action in any way.
  • Auxiliary ingredients. In addition to active substances, the majority of medications contain all sorts of ingredients that do not provide any therapeutic effect, like colorants or flavorings. When producing a generic, a manufacturer can use different auxiliary components, and that will not affect the safety or effectiveness of a medication in any way. But that will make a product look or taste different. Besides, certain patients may turn out to be allergic to certain auxiliary substances, so, one should check the composition of each and every medicine before starting to use it.
  • A pharmaceutical form. In fact, that is a great advantage, since generic producers frequently make products easier to consume. For example, they can transform big and hard tablets that are hard to swallow into soft jelly pills.

But the biggest difference between brand medications and generics is prices. To clarify, generics can be up to 90% cheaper than original medicines! It is noteworthy that this fact has caused prejudices that generics are dangerous to use. However, in practice, there are hundreds of pharma companies producing premium-quality generic products that are as safe and effective as originals.

So, why are generics so cheap? The reason is simple enough: generic manufacturers have the opportunity to save on a wide range of expenditure items:

  • Research and development expenses. To produce a generic, a manufacturer does not have to develop a product, test it or patent. He uses a formula developed by an original manufacturer.
  • In fact, when an original product is popular all around the world, one does not have to make additional efforts to promote it. And it is well-known that marketing expenses constitute a significant part of a final price of a medicine.
  • Production costs. In many cases companies prefer to produce generics in developing countries. That does not influence the quality of a product, but it allows to save on salaries, raw materials, rent and other operational expenses.

Due to such economies, generic producers can easily keep earning very good money after reducing prices.

Generics ― Effective Medications that Are Available without a Prescription

No doubt, in order to avoid any adverse health consequences, it is highly advisable to have a consultation with a doctor and receive his recommendations and instructions before starting to use any medications. But sometimes a patient just doesn’t have any opportunity to visit the doctor’s office and to get a prescription in the near future. In such cases he can turn to an online pharmacy and purchase a generic version of a drug without a prescription.

Certainly, it is highly recommended using the services of those online pharmacies, which offer online consultations with qualified pharmacists. During such a consultation a pharmacist usually asks detailed questions about the customer’s health in order to help him choose a product, which is safe for him and suits his needs perfectly. Also, a pharmacist working for an online drugstore may offer a customer to fill in a special questionnaire in order to make sure that a product ordered is suitable for him.

No doubt, in order to protect the health, you should take certain precautions, when buying and using generics (however, in the case of brand medications you should also exercise caution):

  • To choose the suitable generic, search by the names of the active substance. In most cases generics and brand products are named in a different way.
  • Make sure that the products chosen are both safe and effective. The easiest way is to choose a trustworthy online pharmacy. So, before placing an order, be sure to look through the customers’ reviews on both the website of the pharmacy and third-party sources.
  • Stick to the recommendations on use. In case you take certain brand medications on a regular basis and want to switch to generic versions, keep on sticking to the same regimens, if there is no difference in dosage strength. If you have never used a product before, turn to a doctor or a pharmacist for instructions. Sure, it is advisable to scrutinize information from a pack insert as well.
  • If you notice that a product has changed its shape or color, be sure to consult a pharmacist before using it. That may be a sign of spoilage, for example, due to violations of storage instructions.

To sum up, one should highlight that switching to generics is a perfect solution for those, who cannot afford expensive brand medications or just prefer to avoid overpayments. Also, it is a suitable variant for those patients, who do not have access to the services of doctors.