Facts about Generic Medicines

  • Questions and Answers about Generic Medicines

    Q: What are generic medicines?
    A: Generic medicines are versions of brand-name medicines that no longer have a patent. A patent protects the company that created the brand-name medicine so no one else can make or sell the product.

    Q: Are generic medicines as effective as brand-name medicines?
    A: Yes. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) require generic medicines to have the same high quality, strength, purity, and stability as brand-name medicines. A generic medicine is the same as the brand-name medicine in:

    • Dosage form
    • Safety Strength
    • Quality
    • The way it works
    • The way you take it
    • The way you should use it

     

    Q: Why do generic medicines usually cost less?
    A:
    The research, development and marketing of new medicines cost a lot of money. Companies that make generic medicines do not have to develop them from scratch, so it usually costs much less to make. Generic medicine makers then pass the savings on to consumers. Lower cost does not mean lower quality. Companies that make generic medicine have to show that their product performs the same as the brand-name.

    Q: How are generic medicines approved by the FDA?
    A: All generics must meet the same FDA standards as brand-names. To obtain approval, a generic medicine must: Have the same active ingredient(s) as the brand name; the inactive ingredients may be different Have the same strength and dosage form Be taken the same way Be used to treat the same health conditions Be bioequivalent; this means the active ingredient in the generic medicine enters the body at the same speed and reaches the same levels in the body as the brand-name medicine Meet the same standards for identity, strength, purity, and quality as the brand-name Be made under the same strict guidelines the FDA requires for the brand name

    Q: Is generic medicine right for me?
    A: Today, there are many generic medicine options to treat many short and long-term health conditions. It makes sense to try a generic medicine because for many people, they work just as well as higher-cost, brand-name medicine but can help you save money. Why pay more to stay healthy than you have to? Ask your doctor which generic medicines are right for you.