This is a guest post from Shannon Wills and I welcome her post to the Medical Quack today as she has some information to add regarding generic drugs. Be sure to visit her links at the end of the post for more information. BD
Their chemical compositions are similar and they are supposed to work just as well as the branded ones, but many people still hesitate to buy generic drugs even though they are much cheaper than the ones written on our prescriptions. For most of us, it is a conditioned response, one that has become ingrained in us through years of buying only prescription drugs and steering clear of the generic version because we perceive that something that is so much cheaper must be less efficient. And when it comes to medicine, we want only the best because it’s our health we’re putting on the line when we take a gamble on the kind of drugs we ingest.
But if you knew the truth about generic drugs, you would realize that in spite of their low cost, some of them are as effective as the ones that your doctor has prescribed for you. So how do you know when generic drugs are enough? To answer this question, you first need to know what a generic drug is and why it is available at a lower price than other drugs of the same chemical composition.
Any prescription drug has to go through years of research and experimentation and must be proved effective and safe before it can hope to be approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and allowed to be marketed under its brand name. The NDA (new drug approval) submitted to the FDA by the company is granted exclusive manufacturing rights that prevent other drug manufacturers from using the same formula and putting their brand name on the medicine. But they are allowed to come up with generic versions by submitting an ANDA (abbreviated new drug approval) request because the research has already been done and verified. This is why generic drugs are cheaper, because they don’t include the cost of the millions of dollars that go into the research and development process.
Although the generic drug is supposed to have the same chemical composition, it’s not always exactly similar to the branded version. The FDA has a rating system for the efficacy of generic drug, so if you want to go in for the cheaper version, look at the label for the AB rating. It is the code that lets you know that the generic drug is equivalent to the branded one and that one dosage of this drug is equivalent to one dosage of the branded one in blood concentration, elimination rate and efficacy.
A 2008 survey undertaken by the Kaiser Family Foundation states that generic drugs account for 65 percent of prescription sales and that this industry is growing at the rate of 7 percent. Moreover, with the enormous cost of healthcare, insurance companies are pushing patients to go for the generic versions of drugs.
So yes, generic drugs are good enough and more cost effective when they come with the AB certification.