Many Filipinos associate the word “generic” with lower quality. From bathroom tissue to school supplies, a lot of consumers assume that generic or store-brand products are not as good as their branded counterparts. However, while this might be true in some instances, it doesn’t apply in every scenario. Case in point: medicines.
It’s definitely good practice to be conscientious about the medicines and health supplements that you buy. After all, poorly made and substandard products will likely end up not treating your condition or even make it worse. What you have to remember is that generic medicines aren’t poorly made or substandard. Rather, they’re actually as effective as branded medicines.
Still unconvinced? Below are some reasons that might change your mind:
The first and foremost reason why it’s often better to buy generics than branded medicines is that the former are usually more affordable. This is especially true for over-the-counter medications like paracetamol and mefenamic acid. Depending on the product you buy, you may be able to save up to 75% of the cost! Just make sure that you buy from trusted suppliers like TGP to be assured of product safety and quality.
Now you may be wondering: what makes branded medicines more expensive? First, it’s because the manufacturers are usually the ones who developed and tested the drug. The clinical testing is a particularly long and expensive process, because this stage is used to prove that the drug is safe and will work the way it’s intended.
The manufacturers also have to pay patent fees, which grants them the rights to exclusively make specific formulations of a medicine. Once the patent expires, the recipe will be made public and other manufacturers are now able to make the same formula.
The manufacturers of generics don’t have to pay for all the meticulous processes mentioned above, so they don’t have a lot of capital costs. Thus, they can make medicines a lot cheaper. In addition, because multiple manufacturers now have access to the formula or recipe of the medicine, there’s a lot of competition. Offering more affordable but quality medications is therefore a good business decision.
They Work the Same Way
As previously mentioned, the formula or recipe that the manufacturers of generic medicines use is the same as the one used by the original creators. This means that both kinds of medicines will work the same way; they will even have the same risks and side-effects.
In fact, regulatory bodies require drug companies to prove that their generic medications work just like the brand-name version. Aside from the dosage, strength, and stability, the maker of the generic medicine has to show that their drug has the same active ingredients, dosage form, and route of administration. In addition, the facilities in which the generic medicines are made should also meet strict quality standards.
This means that if the generic medicine causes any problems, you can also file complaints and the authorities will conduct investigations. If it’s proven that the manufacturer was at fault, they could be fined or even shut down. This gives the manufacturers of generics more than enough incentive to make high-quality products
They’re More Widely Available
As mentioned, once the patent on a specific formula of medicine expires, manufacturers will have free access to it. This means that generic drugs are more widely available. Coupled with their lower prices, generics are more accessible to more people.
When Should You Buy Branded Medicines?
There are a lot of branded medicines with generic versions, but there are also plenty with ongoing patents. If this is the case, you may have to purchase a brand-name drug.
You may also be prescribed what is called a narrow therapeutic index (NTI) drug. This is a kind of medicine that requires an exact dose of the active ingredient in order for it to work. Even the smallest difference in dosage or concentration can cause unpleasant or even severe reactions. Some of these drugs include warfarin (a kind of blood thinner) and lithium (used to treat manic episodes).
Ideally, you should stick to whatever NTI drug the doctor prescribed. If they tell you to take a branded medicine, do so; if you’re prescribed a generic NTI, then get that. Don’t switch between brands without consulting your doctor first.
Finally, some Filipinos have been used to taking branded medicines for so long that they’re more “hiyang” to them. There are also times when a generic drug is made a little differently, so that the absorption process is different even if the composition is exactly the same. If you find that you aren’t responding to the generic version as well as you should, it may be better to stick to branded medicines.
All in all, your health is a personal matter. One treatment that works for one patient may not necessarily work for you. So make sure to always consult your doctor before taking any medications, generic or otherwise, to make sure that you’re receiving the best possible care.