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The Truth About Generic Medicines

By Dr. Nikita Toshi +2 more


A generic medicine is a substitute for non-generic medicine; both are the same in composition, excluding the inactive ingredients. Generic medicines can only be produced after the patent of the non-generic medicine has expired and manufacturers get approval from the government authorities in India to make bioequivalent medicines by maintaining safety and quality standards. People have different opinions about generic medicines and listed below are some myths and facts which will help you make an informed and wise choice.

Myth: Generic medicines are not as safe as non-generic medicines.

Fact: The Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation mandates that all medicines manufactured must meet a specific quality and safety standard to be allowed for selling in the market. There are strict terms for approving the request for manufacturing generic medicines and the authorities ensure that all medicines are safe and effective for the public. Generic medicines are bioequivalent of non-generic medicines and are both made with the same active ingredients. 

Myth: Generic medicines are not as effective as non-generic medicines. 

Fact: Generic and non-generic medicines use the same active ingredients, and their strength is no different. You will receive the same benefits from generic medicines as from non-generic medicines and they will also take equal time to produce results.

Myth: Generic medicines are more likely to cause side effects.

Fact: Generic medicines as well as non-generic medicines are monitored by The Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation in India and checked for harmful medicine reactions. Generic medicine does not cause any exclusive or added side effects. 

Myth: Generic medicines take longer to act in the body.

Fact: The active ingredient and its strength are the same in both medicines and the dosage form is the same as the original product. Therefore generic medicines are made to be equally effective as non-generics.

Myth: Generic medicines are sold loose in pharmacies.

Fact: Generic medicines are not sold loose, they are packed properly and due care is taken in storing and distributing these medicines.

Myth: Generic medicines are priced low because they are not good.

Fact: A generic medicine is pharmaceutically and therapeutically the same as non-generic medicines. Generic medicines cost less, but their quality is not compromised. Makers of generic medicines do not have to spend on research, testing, marketing and advertising, which is why they can be sold at low prices.

Myth: Generic medicines are expired medicines.

Fact: An expiration date of medicine is the last date at which the manufacturer can still guarantee the full safety, purity and effectiveness of the medication. Once the patent of a non-generic medicine expires, it means it can now be manufactured as a generic medicine and if it receives the approval of The Drugs Control Advisory Board, after meeting all the safety and quality standards, then it can be sold as a generic medicine at a low cost. This does not mean the medicine is expired or ineffective. 

Myth: Generic medicines are not recommended by doctors.

Fact: Generic medicines are widely available, and many doctors recommend them to patients. Doctors and pharmacists are requested to promote non-generic medicines, which is why they recommend them. Doctors may genuinely feel a generic medicine is not appropriate for patients. Otherwise, generic medicine is often mentioned in the prescription.


We have successfully debunked the myths about generic medicines in this article. Generic medicines are beneficial and increase the competition in the medicine market, they are essential in lower-income countries so everyone can get affordable medicines and a transparent healthcare system prevails.

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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