Brand Name Frenzy

October 21, 2011

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Photo: Courtesy of scottchan

Throughout our lives, we have been trained that purchasing any product with a respectable name attached to it deems it more effective than any generic product. Primarily through media and word of mouth, we have defined that labeled brands are better products and they usually cost significantly more. Sometimes it is worth the extra couple of bucks, but other times it is completely irrelevant. One product that most Americans get hung up on, is if they should buy a generic or brand named drug. An article written by Melissa Stoppler, M.D., states that there is no significant difference between generic and brand named drugs; they are chemically identical. The FDA mandates that generic drugs be as safe and effective as their brand name drug counterpart.

What causes most of the concern around generic drugs is the fact that they are less expensive. This leads consumers to believe that they are less effective and may take longer to see results. Stoppler addresses the issue and explains that a brand named drug is more expensive primarily because the company has to research, market, and advertise the product. Once they conclude that the drug they have created can safely be consumed, they apply for a patent on the product; meaning no one else can sell the same product as long as their patent is in effect. Stoppler states, “As the patent nears expiration, manufacturers can apply to the FDA for permission to make and sell generic versions of the drug.” Without the preliminary costs and research, the generic drug company can sell the exact same medication at a cheaper cost.

 Generic drugs can ultimately save consumers oodles of money in the long run. So if you find yourself buying brand named drugs, stop and think. Does your prescription come in a generic form?  Address it with your primary care provider next time you’re in for an appointment!

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