What is a generic medication? What is the difference between generic medicine and branded medicine? This is a question that many of my clients have asked me in the past.
The generic name of a medicine is its chemical name, or the name of the active ingredient present in the medicine. The brand name is a different name that a manufacturer gives it, like a nickname. usually on the basis that it can be recognized, pronounced and remembered by health professionals and members of the public.
Generic medications have the exact same active ingredients as the branded medicine; the only difference is the name and the marketing campaign behind it. All generic medications must pass through the same approval processes as the branded ones.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) makes sure that all generic medications have the exact strength, form, and active ingredients as branded medication. The inactive ingredients, such as colorings and fillers, may be different in branded and generic medicines, but they must also meet strict FDA standards and guidelines.
However, generic medicines are available only after the patent the original drug manufacturer holds for its brand name expires. So generic versions of newer medicines may not be available today, but
may be several years from now.
If there isn't any generic version of an expensive brand name medication there may be a generic equivalent. A generic equivalent does not have the same active ingredients but have been shown to have the same medical results.
Generic medicines are as safe and effective as any branded medicine, since they are subjected to the same quality tests and manufacturing processes as the name brand medicine. Many states now require pharmacists to fill prescriptions with generic equivalents, if they are available.