Generic medications, generic pills, generic prescriptions and generic products are drug alternatives that are a great relief for those with financial difficulties. With generic medications, you can now follow the doctor's prescription by spending at least 50% less.
However, before you enjoy these generic products, you need to know how to identify a generic drug. Here are some ways you can identify generic drugs:
- Name - The name is perhaps the best identification if a certain drug is generic or not. Most generic drugs are labeled with their generic names. For instance, metformin is used instead of Glucophage, metoprolol is used instead of Lopressor and diazepam is used instead of Valium. Generic Simvastatin is used for Zocor and the generic name Atorvastatin is used for Lipitor. You can always check a list of branded medicines and their generic counterpart to check if the drug you bought is generic.
Also, there are some states, like Texas, that label the drug with "substitute for" instead of the generic names. Examples of this are "substitute for Lipitor," "substitute for Zocor," "substitute for Lopressor," and "substitute for Glucophage."
- Price - Compared with the branded counterpart, generic drugs are amazingly cheap. The price is perhaps the most hailed advantage of generic drugs over branded drugs. Branded drugs are so expensive because the price includes research before the drug is created, clinical trials to prove the drug's effectiveness, and marketing of the drug. All these are not covered in the generic drug's price so it's cheaper.
Aside from that, branded drugs usually monopolize the market since the formulation is patented, making a certain company the sole manufacturer of a certain drug. Therefore, they can mark up the price to as much as they want.
Although cheap, you can’t always use the price as the basis for buying a generic drug online or from resellers like Walmart. Before you surf online or dare take that generic pills from Walmart, you should make sure first of the formulation of the generic drug.
- Formulation - What makes generic drugs trusted is the same formulation these have with the branded drugs. According to the FDA, generic drugs can only be approved for the market if the drugs have the same active ingredients as the branded drugs. Also, the strength, route of administration and form of dosage should be similar. Other similarities that generic drugs should have with the branded drugs are the indications, strength, quality, purity and identity. Generic drugs should also be bioequivalent and should be manufactured under FDA's strict regulations and standards.
Although helpful, there are still instances that a generic drug causes more intense side effects than the branded drug, like allergies. This is because generic drugs do not perfectly copy the branded drug's formulation. The inactive ingredients, also called excipients, can and must be altered since these are the only physical difference that set generic drugs apart. However, changing even the drug's color affects other contents of the drug, causing the side effect of the generic drug.
Overall, taking generic drugs is your choice. Doctors usually recommend taking branded drugs. So, if you choose to instead take generic drugs, just keep in mind these possible risks.