Generic Drugs are prescription medications that the US Federal Drug Administration, or FDA, has determined to have the same quality as brand-name drugs, but at a cheaper price. In fact, if you’ve had a prescription filled recently there’s a good chance that you are taking a generic drug. Almost 80% of prescription drugs sold are generic, which helps save patients, hospitals and insurance company billions of dollars each year.
The big question is how does the FDA ensure that a drug meets the same standards as a brand name drug? The criteria they consider that matters to you as the patient are:
- The drug can be taken in the same way as the brand name drug
- The drug is taken for the same reason as the brand name drug
- It must have the same active ingredient as the brand name drug
- It must be the same strength as the brand name drug
- It must have the same use and effect as the brand name drug
- It must be taken in the same way as the brand name drug (pill, inhaler, liquid, etc)
- It must have the ability to reach the required level in your bloodstream at the right time for the same extent
- It must meet testing standards
- Labeling (minor differences)
- They may have different inactive ingredients such as flavor, color or preservatives. The inactive ingredients in a generic drug must be consider safe by the FDA.
Generic drugs introduce the possibility of multiple manufacturers producing the same drug, thereby creating a more competitive pricing environment to benefit the end user.
So, are generic drugs as effective as brand-name drugs? In short the answer is absolutely yes. If you have any questions about generic drugs do not hesitate to consult your doctor. Also, here is a link to the FDA’s Drug Resources Questions and Answers with official clarification from the US government.