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Brand-name vs. generic drugs

By December 2, 2008 - 7:39pm
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A new study published by Reuters says that brand-name drugs are no better than generic drugs. Am not a big prescription drug person myself but was wondering what other people's experiences have been. Do yo prefer name-brand to generic drugs? Have you really noticed a difference? If so, what was it?

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Alysiak, it is very nice to live in a country where we have options. However, it is also a priority as a nation to start thinking what options we have to save our healthcare system. Big pharma is fighting hard to keep people believing that brand name is better, for specific conditions, most brand drugs will end up as generics at some point according to FDA patent agreements and regulations. There are several drugs already waiting for the timetable to be available for open manufacturing.

The link shows the politics around this issue including consumer perception about generics and how big pharma will continue to create spin-offs of brand names to maintain profit margins. I know the trend will continue to be use of generics as more and more insurance companies (including MEDICARE)require or pay only for generics. The choice then will be up to the amount of money the patient is willing to pay out of pocket.

On my end, I rather be drug free by maintaing a healthy life style. That is also the best way I will save my pocket when I reach Medicare eligibility age, money is a big stressor as you know.


December 4, 2008 - 6:56pm

I'm also happy to go with generic, if available, and that I have the choice. All I care about is that the generic alternative is formulated the same as the brand name drug.

As far as food - I agree, Susan, that (very often) brand tastes better than off-brand, lol!

December 4, 2008 - 5:17pm

Diane P, it is called the placebo effect. I bet I could give you a sugar pill and tell you it is the best brand or the worse brand and the outcome would vary. Our minds play tricks on us. You are probably convinced at a very deep level of conciousness that Ibuprofen brand is more effective. Your brain has internalized that and your body will respond accordingly.

December 4, 2008 - 12:43pm

I am happy to use generic prescription drugs when they are available. I have to admit, however, that I have found myself wondering about whether the content of generic over-the-counter drugs really truly is the same in all cases.

I usually use ibuprofen for my headaches or muscle aches. In this case, it seems the brand name works better for me. I don't think it can be the power of suggestion because I WANT the generic to work better, lol, and in other cases it does. Can there be differences in formula that account for the way a generic works in your system?

BTW I don't have this trouble with generic aspirin, or generic prescription drugs. Just the store-brand ibuprofen. Am I nuts?

December 4, 2008 - 9:10am
HERWriter Guide (reply to Diane Porter)

I have been the same way too. Clever marketing has taught us from a very young age that brand names are the real deal, even though generics have the same active ingredients. It takes me a while to "de-sucker" myself and trust generics!

Food, on the other hand, is a different story for me. I can tell the difference blindfold! Occasionally, I much prefer a generic but in general, brand named foods test better!

December 4, 2008 - 4:04pm

It is not unusual for the general public to hesitate about consuming generic drugs. The powerful marketing campaigns behind brand names have really convinced us that "brand" is better. I have done enough reading on this issue to know that the use of generic drugs will not only save our healthcare system but the treatment outcomes are not different than using more expensive drugs. There are a couple of places you may want to check:


Although I am not a friend of prescriptions drugs and prefer trying a natural approach first, I realized that prescription drugs are a necessary evil in many cases. As a 20-year veteran in the healthcare field including running medical facilities. I learned to listen to the research and organizations committed to watching over our health and at the same time hoping to save our healthcare system by re-educating physicians and patients about generic drugs, without risking patient health outcomes. Most physicians support generic drugs when available more than ever before, it is mostly the patient who has grown enamored and convinced that brand names are better due to the million of dollars spent by pharma on marketing campaigns i.e. TV commercials, full page magazine ads. These marketing strategies influence perception not just of patients but physicians as well. As more and more brand name patents expire in the near future we will see an increase on generics drugs available in the market, thus being prescribed and/or covered by insurance.

A good place to check your doubts is the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) organization, an industry group for U.S. pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies that advocates for patients. You can contact them to get more information on your concern.

Also the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) just published an article about this on their Dec 2 issue. The focus is on generic versus brand drugs to treat cardiovascular conditions.

December 3, 2008 - 1:51pm
EmpowHER Guest

I found out recently that generics can have a certain percent less of the actual drug than the regular drug. Do you know about this?

December 3, 2008 - 9:21am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

Brand name I have found works best if you have a high tolerance. I have to take several meds due to Fibromyalgia. So when they say there is no difference tht is not true. I have had my doctor ( actually 2 different docs) tell me tht there is a difference in the generics verse brand. And I have asked at several different pharmacies and had more yes there is a slight difference verse no there is not. So I have tried generic verse brand in Klonopin,ultram,lortab ect and they didnt do a thing for me so I was told by my doctor to do BRAND name. I did and everything worked.
Trust me I live in pain and have looked into this being I dont have insurance and I wish the generic would work so I could save money.
Best of luck

June 25, 2010 - 6:29pm

Tina, there is NO difference on efficacy. Most brand name drugs are given exclusive patents by the FDA for a period of time. Eventually, most drugs might end up as a generic drug.

When a brand-name drug's patent protection expires, generic versions of the drug can be approved for sale. The generic version works like the brand-name drug in dosage, strength, performance and use, and must meet the same quality and safety standards. All generic drugs must be reviewed and approved by FDA.

Generic drugs may look different than brand names because certain inactive ingredients, such as colors and flavorings, may change. However, these ingredients do not affect the performance, safety or effectiveness of the generic drug. They look different because trademark laws in the U.S. do not allow a generic drug to look exactly like other drugs already on the market. It is always possible that a generic drug will be also manufactured by that company that made the brand version. Brand-name pharmaceutical companies are responsible for manufacturing approximately 50 percent of generic drugs.

December 2, 2008 - 9:56pm
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