Generic or Brand-Name?

What’s the deal with brand name versus generic medications anyway? Here is a quick breakdown of the similarities and differences:

Question: What are brand-name drugs?

Answer: A brand-name drug is a medicine that has been discovered, developed and marketed by a specific pharmaceutical company. Once a new drug has been discovered a patent is filed on it that prevents a rival company from creating a generic version for up to 20 years. Brand-name drugs are more expensive than their generic counterparts.

Question: What are generic drugs?

Answer: Generic drugs are identical to brand-name drugs in dosage, safety, strength, quality, performance and intended use. They are sold at lower prices compared to their brand-name counterparts because they are subject to more competition from other manufacturers and the maker did not have to also pay for the research and development of that medication

Question: Does my insurance company care if I use generic or brand-name drugs?

Answer: Because generic drugs are much cheaper than brand-name drugs, your insurance company will encourage you to use them to save both you and their company money. Ultimately it is you and your doctor’s decision which medication works best for your condition.

Question: Why are brand-name drugs more expensive?

Answer: Once a company has invested in the discovery and development of a new drug, they will file a trademark and patent. This patent prevents any rival pharmaceutical companies from creating a similar drug. While this patent is active, drug companies are able to charge whatever they like for the drug as there is no competition.

Question: What is the difference between generic and brand-name drugs?

Answer: The main difference is the price. Because brand-name drugs are patent protected they do not have to worry about a rival undercutting them and are able to charge increased prices. Generic drugs are created by a number of companies and must keep their price low in order to compete against others. Aside from price, the only difference between the drugs is the inactive ingredients. Inactive ingredients are ingredients that do not affect the therapeutic (healing) action of the drug.

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