Is It Ok To Buy Generic Medicines Or Is That Being Too Cheap?

Is It Ok To Buy Generic Medicines Or Is That Being Too Cheap? I think most people just equate the low price with low quality. And so if generic medicines are cheap, then there must be something lacking or wrong with them.  But what sometimes isn't considered is that when we buy branded medicines, we aren't paying for just the drug. We also pay for a lot of other things: the nicer (more expensive) packaging it comes in, the initial research done (even if it was completed decades ago), and the marketing/advertising for the drug.
A while back, I was reading an article about savings tips, and one of the tips was to buy generic instead of branded medicines.

To my surprise though, one of the commenters was wailing against skimping on your health by buying "unknown" (di-kilalang) brands.

The person was of course right. But "unknown" brands are different from generic medicines. More importantly, they aren't really any less effective.

Generic medicines have the same dosage form, safety, strength, rout of administration, quality performance,  and intended use.* And even in the Philippines, they are still regulated by our FDA.

Generic medicine simply means they followed the "original" formula of the one who developed the drug. Since such information is critical to people's health, they can only be copyrighted for a certain amount of time. After which, all other manufacturers will be able to produce the same drug as a generic medicine.

But I think most people just equate the low price with low quality. And so if generic medicines are cheap, then there must be something lacking or wrong with them.

But what sometimes isn't considered is that when we buy branded medicines, we aren't paying for just the drug. We also pay for a lot of other things: the nicer (more expensive) packaging it comes in, the initial research done (even if it was completed decades ago), and the marketing/advertising for the drug. 

Of course, the R&D to develop new drugs is important, that's why companies are allowed exclusive periods to sell the (expensive) medicine to recoup their money and make a profit.

But once that period is over (and they've already profited) there's no need to pay extra if you don't particularly want to.

(Somewhat related note/2nd-hand info: Some doctors can have "endorsement" deals. A manufacturer of distributor of certain drugs may give incentives to recommend their product over a rival brand. This doesn't mean some doctors give out questionable prescriptions. They'll still give you the right medicine, they'll just recommend brand-A over brand-B. I found this out when my former coworker had a thyroid disorder and during consultations, the doctor divulged the info. And I share this only to stress: ask about a generic alternative; just because that wasn't the initial Rx doesn't necessarily mean it's an inferior option.)


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photo credit: Nina J. G. via photopin cc

3 comments:

  1. Still a bit confused about that generic & branded brands, yung ibang doctor ini-insist nila talaga to buy the branded not the generic ones kaya pag may budget branded ang binibili ng parents ko pero pag kulang na pera they resorted to generic na.

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    1. Hi Grace,

      Hmm... di ko sure kung bakit ganun, pero depende dn siguro sa medicine. Yung ibang medicine, may ibang formulation naman ata talaga - baka may other "ingredients" aside from te "main" or active ingredient. Or baka mas mataas yung dosage (500mg vs 250mg sa generic).

      Or pwede ring preference lang ng doctor. kung may matatanong kayong ibang doctor ok dn. Kung wala ayus lang dn naman na hindi generic kung kaya.

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    2. Generic name is the Chemical/Scientific Name of the drug. Ang Brand Name ng gamot nakadepende yon sa choice na piinili ng may ari ng company. It's like choosing a car(generic name) between Toyota and Honda (brand names). Same sila na may gulong, manibela, makina, etc. ang difference lang is that magkaiba sila ng company.

      Some doctors would recommend a trusted brand lalo na yong mga sikat na brand ng gamot at matagal na sa market dahil madami ng research/study ang nagawa to test their efficacy unlike sa mga bagong release na mga brands ng gamot.

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