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Generic Medicine

GENERIC MEDICINES

A generic medicine is a pharmaceutical drug that contains the same chemical substance as a drug that was originally protected by chemical patents. Generic drugs are allowed for sale after the patents on the original drugs expire. Because the active chemical substance is the same, the medical profile of generics is believed to be equivalent in performance. A generic drug has the same active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) as the original, but it may differ in some characteristics such as the manufacturing process, formulation, excipients, color, taste, and packaging.

Although they may not be associated with a particular company, generic drugs are usually subject to government regulations in the countries in which they are dispensed. They are labeled with the name of the manufacturer and a generic non-proprietary name such as the United States Adopted Name (USAN) or International Non-proprietary Name (INN) of the drug. A generic drug must contain the same active ingredients as the original brand-name formulation. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires generics to be identical to or within an acceptable bioequivalent range of their brand-name counterparts, with respect to pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic properties. (The FDA’s use of the word “identical” is a legal interpretation, not literal.)

GENERIC MEDICINES V/S BRANDED MEDICINES:

Generic Medicine is a drug that is exactly the same as the brand-name drug, but can only be produced after the brand-name drug’s patent has expired.
A generic drug is the same as a brand-name drug in:

  • dosage
  • safety
  • strength
  • quality
  • the way it works
  • the way it is taken
  • the way it should be used

Do generic medicines work the same as brand-name medicines?

Yes. Any generic medicine modeled after a brand-name medicine must perform the same in the body as the brand-name medicine. This standard applies to all generic medicines. A generic medicine is the same as a brand-name medicine in dosage, safety, effectiveness, strength, stability, and quality, as well as in the way it is taken and the way it should be used. Generic medicines use the same active ingredients as brand-name medicines and work the same way, so they have the same risks and benefits as the brand-name medicines. The FDA Generic Drugs Program conducts a rigorous review to make certain generic medicines meet these standards, in addition to conducting 3,500 inspections of manufacturing plants a year and monitoring drug safety after the generic medicine has been approved and brought to market.

It is important to note that there will always be a slight, but not medically important, level of natural variability—just as there is for one batch of brand-name medicine compared with the next batch of brand-name product. This variability can and does occur during manufacturing, for both brand-name and generic medicines. When a medicine, generic or brand-name, is mass produced, very small variations in purity, size, strength, and other parameters are permitted. FDA limits how much variability is acceptable.

For example, in a very large research study comparing generics with brand-name medicines, it was found that there were very small differences (approximately 3.5%) in absorption into the body between generic and the brand-name medicines. Some generics were absorbed slightly more, some slightly less. This amount of difference is expected and acceptable, whether for one batch of brand-name medicine tested against another batch of the same brand, or for a generic tested against a brand-name medicine. As a rule, the difference for the generic-to-brand comparison was about the same as the brand-to-brand comparison.

Myths and Facts

Myths

Facts

Generics take longer to act in the body

Firm seeking to sell a generic drug must show that its drug delivers the same amount of active ingredient in the same time frame as the original product.

Generics are not as potent as brand-name drugs.

FDA requires generics to have the same quality, strength, purity, and stability as brand-name drugs.

Generics are not as safe as brand-name drugs.

FDA requires that all drugs be safe and effective and that their benefits outweigh their risks. Since generics have same active ingredients and are shown to work the same way in the body, they have the same risk-benefit as their brand-name counterparts.

Generic drugs are likely to cause more side effects.

There is no evidence of this. The FDA monitors reports of adverse drug reactions and has found no difference.

Generic drugs are sold loose.

It is not true. Generic Drugs are packed properly and due care taken in storing and distribution of medicines.

Generic drugs are not good as they are low priced.

A Generic Drug is pharmaceutically and therapeutically equivalent to branded medicines.

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