Is there such a thing as a brand name drug snob? I mean, let’s talk about it because there’s a lot of confusion around what brand name and generic drugs offer, respectively. Some people might feel more comfortable with brand name drugs for the understanding that they are more “safe” as a result of their frequent use or exposure. What do you think?
Why We Doubt
With class action lawsuits about drugs that tilt them as harmful to our health over time, it’s understandable to be on edge about medications you haven’t heard of. Perhaps there’s an association of lower prices with lower quality? Let’s take a closer look at the difference between a brand name and generic drugs.
Brand and Generic Drugs
Understanding the difference between brand name and generic drugs is really about understanding the process that leads to the production of both.
Without having all of the information, the term “generic” denotes a basic or general classification. However, generic is about the fact the drug at hand has no registered trademark or brand.
When a new drug is discovered, it goes through a process where the FDA develops, tests, and approves its production. A brand name company will patent the drug under their name, hence the brand name product. While the patent is in effect, the brand will spend time marketing the drug, which is how it becomes well known to the public.
Is There a Compromise on Quality?
Once the patent expires, other companies can release their adaptation of the drug. These adaptations are then considered “generic” versions. The brand that initially held the patent may also develop its own generic.
The Quality Assurance Process
Now, these drugs must comply with the same approval process as the brand name. They must have the same level of effectiveness, strength, stability, and in fact, the same quality. The core difference between the generic adaptations and the brand is the cost, packaging, and inactive ingredients.
The Inactive Ingredients Dilemma
The cost of generics tends to be lower as they do not require extensive funding for marketing. Also, inactive ingredients are typically switched out for more cost-effective alternatives. The packaging is not permitted to be the same, as generics are not branded but rather identified and named after the active ingredient.
For example, ingredients like fillers or food dyes that have no impact on the medication itself may be interchanged. It is possible to have adverse effects on inactive ingredients. However, the likelihood of this occurring is not necessarily more likely than experiencing adverse effects from a brand.
Those are the facts, but we want your opinion. Do you think generic drugs are of lesser quality based on experience?