One of the most common digs thrown at HMOs is that they only approve cheap medications for their members to use. In Nigeria, this bias is even stronger due to the assumption that the more expensive a product is, the better. As such, whenever there’s a generic vs brand-name medications situation, the logic is that if a drug is inexpensive/generic, then it is inferior.
This isn’t true and we’ll tell you the difference.
Do generic drugs work the same way as brand-name drugs?
Yes. They have the same active ingredients and lead to the same medical outcomes. They are the same as brand-name medications when it comes to quality, dosage, strength and route of administration.
Are generic drugs safe?
Yes. Generic drugs are heavily regulated by local and international government agencies and go through a rigorous review process before they’re approved.
How ‘cheap’ are generic drugs?
Generic medications typically cost about 80% to 85% less than the same brand-name drug.
Why do brand-name drugs cost more than generics?
Brand medications are new discoveries developed through expensive research and clinical trials. As a result, pharmaceutical companies get patent and exclusivity protection to allow them to profit from their innovation for several years.
During this time, no other company can make or sell the drug until the patent expires, leading to market competition and lower costs.
How are generic drugs different?
Brands and generics don’t look exactly alike (colour, size, shape, packaging), but they work the same.
Why are generic drugs important?
Not everyone can afford brand-name drugs so generic drugs offer more people affordable access to treatment. People are less likely to stop treatment or skip dosages when their medications are more affordable.
Are there times when I should choose a brand-name drug over a generic?
Yes, in the following cases:
- When there’s no generic version available.
- When you take a narrow therapeutic index drug. In this case, small differences in the dosage can lead to side effects.
- In extremely rare cases where you respond poorly to the generic drug.
Above all, wherever you stand on this generic vs brand-name medications divide, your doctor’s guidance is key.