If you have ever been prescribed medication or picked up a prescription from a pharmacist, you may have been asked whether you prefer a generic drug or a brand-name drug and wondered what the differences were.
In the following article, we'll break down what generic pharmaceutical drugs are, why they are important, and also why generic pharmaceuticals often cost less than brand-name drugs.
What Are Generic Pharmaceutical Drugs?
Pharmaceutical drugs are chemical substances that are used to treat or diagnose various diseases and illnesses. It takes a long time and a lot of money and research to fully develop a drug and then get that tablet, capsule, or injectable to the point where it can be safely sold to consumers.
Generic pharmaceutical drugs are equivalent to brand-name drugs in strength, dosage, administration, quality, kinetics, and intended use. Often, generic drugs are promoted by companies under their chemical name rather than their brand name and without any advertising.
Brand-name pharmaceutical drugs are generally protected under copyright for up to 20 years before a generic version of the drug can be produced, and generic drugs still have to pass various tests and regulations before they are approved for sale to consumers.
Why Are Generic Medications Cheaper than Brand Name?
Part of the process of developing treatments in the United States involves research, testing, clinical trials, and getting approval from the Food and Drug Administration.
It's a time-consuming and expensive process. According to a Congressional Budget Office report, the average cost of producing a medication from start to finish is between $500 million and $2.5 billion dollars.
Pharmaceutical drugs are big business, and like all businesses, pharmaceutical companies are trying to make a profit. Part of that is getting a return on investment (ROI) from all the money they invest in developing a new drug.
A pharmaceutical company has a limited time to not only recoup costs associated with developing a new drug but also make money from it. After that, its protection under copyright could expire, and generic versions of the drug could be released at a much lower cost.
For example, a drug may start its life at a cost of $100 per prescription. When a generic drug version is released at a lower cost of $15 per script, the brand name version or original version may drop its price to be competitive with the generic version but still be slightly higher than the generic version.
Why Are Generic Drugs So Important to Consumers?
The increasing costs of drugs, healthcare, and health insurance lead many consumers to seek out alternative treatment options and, when possible, generic versions of drugs.
The benefits of generic drugs include:
Equally Effective Treatment Options – Generic drugs are as effective as their brand name counterparts and approved by the FDA. They are considered to be the bioequivalent of brand-name drugs.
Increased Patient Savings – According to the FDA, generic drugs are estimated to cost 85% less than their brand name alternatives, which means significant savings for patients.
Generic Drugs Are Easy to Find – Generic drugs are typically easy to find, with many physicians, chemists, and pharmacists offering generic alternatives to brand-name drugs at the time of dispensing.
Consumers Are More Likely to Use Generic Drugs for Longer – Patients are up to three times more likely to use a full course of generic drugs compared to brand name drugs, which are up to 85% more expensive.
In the United States, 89% of all drugs dispensed were generic, but generic drugs only accounted for 26% of costs associated with prescriptions. It found that while generic drugs were administered far more often than brand-name drugs, these drugs were a lot cheaper and more affordable to consumers.
By having generic drug options available to consumers, more people have access to affordable drug options, which could mean the difference between effective treatment and no treatment.
Laxxon Medical is dedicated to engineering patented 3D pharmaceutical solutions that optimize products and benefit patients. Our goal is to establish SPID®-Technology as a manufacturing process with the individual and the pharmaceutical partner in mind.
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