JUL 07, 2017 02:50 PM PDT
Are Brand-Name Medicines Better than Generics?
WRITTEN BY: Xuan Pham
2 1 274

In 2016, a study published in the JAMA journal found that Americans spent a whopping $73 billion on the pricey brand-name drugs. Part of the reason for the exorbitant spending was the unavailability of generic equivalents. However, in some cases, the patients paid for brand-name drugs because they were often not sufficiently informed by their doctors of the less expensive alternatives.

Is there a difference between brand-name drugs and generics? According to the FDA, generics are required to have the same active ingredient, strength, dosage form, and route of administration as the brand-name drug. And the process of demonstrating that generics are equivalent to brand-name drugs is no cakewalk either - manufacturers have to meet the same quality standards that the FDA set out for brand-names.

Differences between brand-name and generic medicines often involve the inactive ingredients - that is, generics may contain different preservatives, dyes, or flavoring agents. Of course the other big difference between brand-name and generics is the cost. The FDA estimates that on average, generics cost about 80-85 percent less than their brand-name counterparts. That's why going generic saved $158 billion in 2010.

So next time you're at the drugstore or at the doctor's office, don't be shy about generics. Just because they're cheap doesn't mean they're at all inferior!
About the Author
  • I am a human geneticist, passionate about telling stories to make science more engaging and approachable. Find more of my writing at the Hopkins BioMedical Odyssey blog and at TheGeneTwist.com.
You May Also Like
MAY 23, 2018
Videos
MAY 23, 2018
Pig Brains Kept Alive in a Lab?
When the brain stops functioning, the body will eventually die, usually quite soon after. However, MIT's Technology Review reports that a team at Yale was
MAY 28, 2018
Videos
MAY 28, 2018
How Will NASA Protect Earth From Potentially-Hazardous Asteroids?
Earth is no stranger to asteroids, but that's no reason to let our guard down. While many smaller asteroids break up in the planet's atmosphere, a larger o
JUN 05, 2018
Videos
JUN 05, 2018
Gauging Animal Intelligence is No Easy Task
Researchers are continually attempting to gauge intelligence in animals by putting them through various tests. These tests are designed to recognize intell
JUN 08, 2018
Videos
JUN 08, 2018
Video: Paper Made From What?
This eco-friendly paper is sourced from poop.
JUN 10, 2018
Videos
JUN 10, 2018
Here's Why You Shouldn't Hold Your Pee for Too Long
Do you urinate regularly? Science shows that holding in your urine for extended periods of time imposes adverse health effects on your body. Of course, the
JUN 13, 2018
Neuroscience
JUN 13, 2018
Can This Robot Read Your Thoughts?
Artificial intelligence is at the forefront of neuroscience. Research is ongoing into projects that are investigating if AI could help those with Parkinson
Loading Comments...