What are generic medicines – explained through an example? 

Generic drugs - what are these?

Generic medicines are those which have the same ingredients of a branded drug. Owing to this, a generic medicine gives the same therapeutic value to the user. However, a generic drug does not have the same inactive chemicals as its branded counterpart. 

You need to know that a generic drug cannot be sold till a branded drug’s patent expires. This means, it may take upto 20 years – from the time the patent-holding brand owner files with food and drug administration. This period is known as exclusive marketing rights, which is accorded to the patent holder. It secures the inventor to manufacture the drug with no competition till the date its patent is expired.

Generic drug-makers can apply an abbreviated new drug approval – also known as ANDA, to the US-based FDA. This application seeks clearance from FDA to make the generic form of the drug which has come off the period of exclusivity to manufacture as well as to market.

An example of a generic medicine
A generic med often goes with the name of the key ingredient used in its making. A popular example of a branded med is Viagra. The key ingredient used in this drug is called sildenafil. There are many generic drug makers who make this key chemical to bring about a treatment for erectile dysfunction among males. This medicine has a few key chemicals that work to relax your blood vessels and enable better supply of blood to your penis. This action makes your penis turn big as well as stiff, and thus help you have a successful penile erection. You are advised to consume it before a sexual intercourse; you may take it along with a meal or soon after it. 

Active ingredients of generic forms of PDE inhibiting meds help blood vessels of penile region to dilate. This dilation relaxes your blood vessels, and helps men have penile erection. The longer your erection is maintained, the more are the odds of sexual satisfaction. There are many versions of generic PDE 5 inhibiting drugs available in drug stores as well as online pharmacies.

Another example of a branded drug and its generic counterparts
A period of exclusivity – of nearly 15 years – is generally accorded to the patent owner. This timeline lets the brand owner to recoup research costs it incurred during the development stages. Another example is the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug called ibuprofen. This medicine is widely used for treating inflammation and pains. This is very old medication and has come off the period of exclusivity. Owing to it, several generic meds are available at a cheaper cost and with different types of inactive chemicals.
Thus, regardless of the chemical constitution – as the core ingredient remains the same – all generic meds bring about needful relief from internal swelling and inflammation.

How safe it is to use generic drugs instead of branded medications?
US based drug approving agency – the food and drug administration (FDA, in short) clears generic drugs only if these drugs possess the similar level of therapeutic capability, quality as well as safety. Hence, the agency scrutinises each abbreviated new drug application with meticulous care and through well-documented inspection protocols. Thus, it is generally considered safe to take generic drugs as they have the FDA approval for prescription as well as use.

Cost advantage of generic drugs
The cost of generic drugs plays a vital role in making such meds more popular among users. As per reliable secondary research reports, generic meds are known to cost lesser than their branded versions. A recent study informs that the cost differential can be as high as 70% - or even more; this explains the demand for generic drugs as compared to branded meds. A key reason why generic drugs are less expensive is the absence of sizable spending on research and development.

Why do branded medicines cost more than generic drugs?
Branded drugs are developed after rigorous testing standards, spanning multiple phases. There are animal-based tests, human trials followed by closely observed patients-based tests. All these tests – done over many phases – cost sizable amount of financial resources and human efforts at various advanced laboratories.

On the other hand, generic meds do not come through as many tests and trials – like branded drugs. This is the key trigger behind generic drugs to be sold at relatively cheaper levels than their branded versions. Last but not least, most branded meds increase their prices every year or once in 2 years. In sum, generic meds are preferred mainly due to their lesser costs and ease of availability. These meds are made in drug-making facilities located all over the globe. The US-based FDA conducts regular inspections of these units to ensure adherence of good manufacturing practices.

Data and information shared above are only of supplementary nature. Information provided here does not substitute a qualified physician’s advice and instructions. This website is not suggesting that the intake of drugs it deals with as safe or appropriate. Hence it is advised to talk to your doctor before taking any drug.