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Generic Medicine is Cheap and Effective

Update Date: Feb 22, 2013 10:59 AM EST

People can save a whole ton of money on medicine if they are willing to ignore the brands and look at the price tags. Consumers tend to buy their favorite brands over and over again, especially when it comes to medicine regardless of how much they may cost. Generic brands are significantly cheaper than brand name medicines, but customers may be unwilling to switch over because they do not understand how a set of medicines can be so much cheaper. Thus, customers tend to assume that generic brand medication is less effective and possibly even dangerous. However, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reassures everyone every day that generic brands are equally as effective and safe as name brands, or they would never be able to be sold over the counter. 

Brenda Stodart, Pharm.D., a pharmacist at the FDA, has the task of convincing callers for the Drug information line that generic brands are perfectly safe. Stodart, who has been working for the FDA drug line for 14 years states that "every day without fail we educate consumers and health care professional about the safety and efficacy of generic drugs." 

The main information that customers must remember is that all generic drugs on the market have been approved by the FDA. The standards for a generic drug to pass FDA guidelines are as tough as any other brand name drugs. In fact, generic drugs are compared to the brand name drug it is trying to compete with on the market. The FDA has compiled the list of necessary requirements that a generic drug to be passed.

For generic drugs to get the stamp of approval, they must have the same active ingredients, made in the same dosage form, require the same form of intake, have the same amount of medicinal strength, and be made under the same guidelines and standards as the name brand drugs. For example, if a brand name drug is in the form of a capsule and must be taken orally, the generic version must also be the same. In addition, the generic brands must be bioequivalent, which means they must be able to be absorbed by the bloodstream at the same pace as the brand name. Essentially, generic brands produce the same exact medication as the name brands, but without the name plastered across the bottle. The FDA even has a list called Drugs@FDA for people to do research and find out more information regarding a specific generic brand of medicine. 

If almost everything between the two types of brands are the same, why are generic brands significantly cheaper? Generic brands are cheaper because they are usually produced by the store. For example, the Walgreens drugstores carry Walgreens brand medication. These stores do not feel the need to advertise, market, and promote these drugs, and thus there are no added costs. Therefore, getting effective and safe medicines is more accessible than you may think. The next time you go into a store, be assured that generic brands are safe despite the low price tags. 

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