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Generic Medicines And How Safe Are They?

By Dr. Nikita Toshi +2 more

Many people do not understand generic medicine differs from non-generic brand name medications. A generic medication is created to be the same as an already marketed non-generic medicine. They provide the same clinical benefits but the packaging, inactive ingredients and prices vary. In this article, we shall learn about generic medicines and their importance.


What is Generic medicine?

Generic medicines are bioequivalent to non-generic medicines. They are made with the same active ingredient, according to the same dosage form, safety, strength, route of administration, quality and performance characteristics. The generic medicine works in the same way as non-generic medicines. The biggest advantages of generic medicine are that they are cost-effective and allow patients to save significantly on their medication bills. 

What are the differences between generic medicine and non-generic medicine?

A major difference between generic medicine and non-generic medicine is the cost. For generic medicine manufacturing, expenses related to patent and exclusive rights like brand-name non-generic medicine are not needed. Therefore generic medicines are priced at a lower amount, 

The colour, shape, packaging and inactive elements are different in the two medicines. Another difference between the two is the expiration date. Some generic medicines may have an extended expiration date than non-generic medicine.

Are generic medicines safe? 

Generic medicines cost less but are not less effective. Makers of these medicines do not spend money on the development, research, animal and human clinical trials, marketing and advertising. A non-generic medicine with an expired patent can apply for a licence to sell generic medicine, which is evaluated and approved by the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation only if it meets safety and quality standards. 

Generic medicine contains the same active ingredient that had undergone all clinical trials and quality testing during its patent when it was manufactured by a brand as the non-generic medicine. Therefore, these are considered to be safe. Pharmacovigilance centres monitor the safety and side effects of medications. They ensure consumers are getting effective and safe medicines. They also investigate problem reports and make recommendations to manufacturers, healthcare professionals and the public. 

Can I get generic medicine in India?

Generic medicines are available in India and you can buy them from pharmacies across cities and states. The endeavour of PMBJP (Pradhan Mantri Bhartiya Janaushadhi Pariyojna) is to make therapeutic medicines available to the public and you can purchase generic medicines from Jan Aushadhi Stores. 

The Drugs Technical Advisory Board of India amended a rule in the constitution to allow pharmacies to sell generic medicines to patients even if the prescriptions specify the branded versions. The best way to find a generic medicine alternative is to talk to your pharmacist or doctor and search for the active ingredient in the medicine. You can also purchase generic medicines through online pharmacies like PharmEasy. Sometimes, a brand medicine may not have a generic variant available. You must discuss it with your doctor.

Conclusion

Generic medicine does not hamper nor discourage medical research and innovation. They make good-quality healthcare available to people and should be marketed more aggressively. The socio-economic impact of COVID-19 has been such that the common person’s capacity to spend has come down on average. Also, the growth in fatal diseases has increased and there’s a high demand for affordable medicines. It is the need of the hour to understand your rights and request doctors for generic medicines if and whenever possible. If there are no alternatives, discuss your concerns with your doctor but try not to discontinue treatment due to financial constraints.

Disclaimer: The information included on this site is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for medical treatment by a healthcare professional. Because of unique individual needs, the reader should consult their physician to determine the appropriateness of the information for the reader’s situation.

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