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Generic Drugs: What You Should Know


Eighty-nine percent of prescriptions distributed in the United States are for generic drugs as they cost 80-85 percent less than the originator brand-name products. You may ask: why does such a difference in price exist if generic drugs contain the same active ingredient to their brand-name counterparts? New drugs are protected by patents and can only be sold for a period of time by the company that made them. When these patents expire, other companies are then allowed to seek approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to develop and sell a generic version. The competitors do not have to perform the initial clinical trials, making generic drugs cheaper to produce.

The COPD Foundation has teamed up with the CHEST Foundation to dispel common myths around generic drugs.

 

  • Myth: Every brand-name drug has a generic version.
    Fact: Not all brand-name drugs have generic versions. Due to the high costs of research and development, all new drugs are protected by patents and can only be sold for a period of time by the company that made them. When these patents expire, other companies are then allowed to seek FDA approval to develop and sell a generic version of the drug.
  • Myth: You need to take more of a generic drug than a brand-name drug.
    Fact: All generic drugs must be the same in terms of how they work and how much must be taken compared with brand-name drugs. There is no evidence that brand-name drugs work better than other drugs.
  • Myth: Generic drugs lower quality than brand names.
    Fact: The FDA requires generic companies to meet manufacturing standards that are the same as brand-name drugs.

 

You can find more myth busters around the use of generics here.

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