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Do Generic Pharmaceutical Drugs Compromise on Quality?

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Nowadays due to increased health problems, and high medicinal expenses people have started making a shift to generic drugs which are the same as brand-name drugs and offer almost equivalent medicinal properties. Generic pharmaceutical companies have never been as famous as branded and marketed drug companies. So people always have a question regarding are generic drugs as safe as their branded counterparts and are they effective in treatments for severe health implications.

Generic drugs are identical counterparts of branded drugs and medicines manufactured by large corporations. When the patent of any particular brand-name drug expires, other smaller pharmaceutical companies manufacture a generic version of it and sell it in the open market. Generic drugs are relatively cheaper as the companies producing it do not have to invest much time and money into the research and development stage. Because a formulation is already available, everything the company then needs is just to manufacture it and get it approved by the FDA.

How does the FDA approve Generic Medicines?
If a company wants to get its generic drug approved with the FDA’s stamp, it must manufacture a drug that can be seen as a bioequivalent of the brand-name drug previously available. The FDA allows drug manufacturers to make a change in the active ingredients of medicine for up to 20% but top generic pharmaceutical companies do not go to that extent in making changes in the drug’s composition.

Moreover, generic manufacturers also do not need to go under vigorous drug tests as the data available with the FDA for previously used brand-name drugs is used as a result. Hence generic drugs are mostly passed with smaller test cycles and datasets. This does not raise a question about the effectiveness of the drug. The FDA chooses this course just to ensure that the drugs reach the patients speedily in the market.

Are generic drugs less effective?
Generic medicines are as effective as their brand-name substitutes. The FDA ensures that every drug being sold in the market is safe and effective for its consumers whether it is a brand-name drug or a generic drug. As we know generic drugs have almost identical medical formulation and are made using the same active ingredients used in the making of branded drugs, generic drugs are hence the effective and alternative solution to most branded drugs.

Generic drugs are also tested and reviewed thoroughly almost as same as their branded counterparts; hence consumers should not be worried about the drug’s effectiveness. The FDA also saves and publishes information regarding generic drugs for almost all types of critical diseases. Some people also think that generic drugs are cheaper as they are made by smaller companies with limited on-site production facilities but in contrast, the FDA makes sure that a generic drug manufacturing unit complies with all the norms laid down by the FDA for manufacturing of medicines and drugs. It isn’t always that only smaller companies manufacture generic drugs and sell them in the market, but research shows that almost 50% of all generic drugs manufactured come from big branded companies as companies always thrive to make their medicines available to consumers on a large scale.

How to identify Generic Drugs?
Some laws suggest guidelines for generic drugs; any generic drug cannot be made to look the same as its branded counterpart. However, differentiating between a brand-name drug and a generic drug is never a big hassle. Manufacturers, to comply with the statutory guidelines laid down by the FDA and other institutions; develop generic drugs that vary in packaging, naming, colors, shapes, sizes, and many more different dimensions.

Is a Generic Drug available for every other Branded Drug?
Branded drugs have patent protection for 20 years, which provides relief to a company that no other manufacturer can make the same drug and sell it in the market. However when a patent for a branded drug has expired or is about to expire other manufacturers can get consent from the FDA and start manufacturing the drug under the prescribed guidelines for generic drug manufacturing. It is somehow difficult to find generic drugs for brand medications that have been in the market for less than 20 years, as it comes under patent protection. However, a similar medication can be found if needed.

The Market’s Boom for Generic Drugs

Today numerous ailments have drugs with their prices sky-rocketing by the passage of time. Several insurance providers now approve and pay their insurance holders for opting into generic drugs. Generic drugs have now gained a higher level of trust from people and people consider them an effective option to switch from branded medicines. This has helped the generic drugs market to grow on a rapid scale for the last few years.

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