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Vash01
07-02-2011, 03:39 AM
Question for the knowledgeable folks:

Today my doctor prescribed me a generic drug instead of the one I have been taking. Logic tells me that it's safe- the doctor approved it, the pharmacist (I talked to him) said it has the same ingradient, and it's no different, except that it's newer. My feelings are making me somewhat uncomfortable. Does it mean the drug has not undergone clinical trial and so there may be risks that the regular medicine did not have?

I had to accept the generic because I could get a 90 days supply of it. For the regular medicine the Dr. did not want to prescribe more than 30 days. I am going on vacation for over a month and I did not want to take the risk of running out of medicine. Also the 90 days supply is free for me, because I am on a certain plan through my employer; the 30 days supply would cost me approx. $42 per month (even with the insurance). It essentially means I have two types of insurances.

The bottom line though is - why am I feeling uncomfortable about taking the generic (it has a different name too)? Is this unreasonable to feel this way?

numbers123
07-02-2011, 03:48 AM
generic drugs vs brand name (http://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=46204)

Actually, generic drugs are only cheaper because the manufacturers have not had the expenses of developing and marketing a new drug. When a company brings a new drug onto the market, the firm has already spent substantial money on research, development, marketing and promotion of the drug. A patent is granted that gives the company that developed the drug an exclusive right to sell the drug as long as the patent is in effect
Most insurance plans pay for the generic formulation because it is cheaper and not significantly different than the brand name.
For example one of my medications in brand name would be $600+ for brand name and is $120 for generic 90 day. Insurance covers the generic costs, I could get the brand name under my own $$$ if I wanted to.

Twilight1
07-02-2011, 03:57 AM
Generic is the basic name for the same medication. Bupropion, for example, is sold under that generic name but is available as Zyban for smoking cessation or Wellbutrin for depression. All of it is the same thing, just different names.

milanessa
07-02-2011, 04:15 AM
I can't remember who it is but we have a pharma rep on the board. Maybe they'll chime in.

My understanding is that when a new drug comes out the manufacturer has a patent on it for a limited time so no one else can use the same formulary. That's to allow for the drug company to recoup the very expensive research and development. If anyone could recreate that formula right away there would be no incentive to develop new drugs. After a certain amount of time the "recipe" is available for other drug companies to replicate and it becomes the generic. That drug company doesn't have much of an investment thus the drug is cheaper. The active ingredients of a generic are always the same, sometimes the filler may vary.

BigB08822
07-02-2011, 04:19 AM
Generic drugs are the same. They may differ slightly in what they mix the drug with but the active ingredient, the reason you are taking it, is all the same. The reason name brand is more expensive than generic is because the name brand had to fund all the research and tests to get that drug approved. In the U.S. this costs millions, if not billions, of dollars. They have to make that money back over time. The drug is patented for a certain time and when that expires the drug is available to be made by other companies. These other companies just produce the drug and sell it, no need for research or tests as the FDA has already approved it. Since they save all that money they can sell their version for a fraction of the cost of the name brand. It is absolutely safe and I NEVER EVER buy any name brand if I can help it.

ETA: lol, I should have read milanessa's post first. :P

milanessa
07-02-2011, 04:37 AM
ETA: lol, I should have read milanessa's post first. :P

Well at least we agreed. :lol:

Lurking Skater
07-02-2011, 04:41 AM
Most drug companies own generic manufacturing companies and change only more cosmetic things like color or the markings on the tablets. Some generic drugs still have the brand name on them. Until recently, the pantoprazole (generic for Protonix) that the pharmacy I work at carries, said Protonix on it. Generics can't be marketed as such, if they aren't A/B rated to the brand name product, which means they are equivalent to the brand.

Vash01
07-02-2011, 04:48 AM
Most drug companies own generic manufacturing companies and change only more cosmetic things like color or the markings on the tablets. Some generic drugs still have the brand name on them. Until recently, the pantoprazole (generic for Protonix) that the pharmacy I work at carries, said Protonix on it. Generics can't be marketed as such, if they aren't A/B rated to the brand name product, which means they are equivalent to the brand.

That brings up an interesting question. If the generic has a different name, it means it is not equivalent to the brand? Did I misinterpret your post?

BittyBug
07-02-2011, 04:54 AM
It really depends on the drug. To be deemed a generic equivalent, the drug needs to have between 80% and 125% efficacy of the name brand drug. For most health issues that variance is insignificant, but many in the medical community believe that for some diseases (like hypothyroidism), it's not. And because from refill to refill you might not get the same generic, for certain diseases, it's possible to have a significant swing in effectiveness from one refill to another.

attyfan
07-02-2011, 05:00 AM
Sometimes, the difference between name brand and generic isn't in the active ingredient, but in something else. For example, I took Dilantin (an anti-convulsant) for epilepsy for many years. The name brand treated the capsule, so it could be taken once a day. The first generics did not have treated capsules, so they would be taken multiple times per day. Even though there was no difference in the active ingredient, the difference in the capsules made compliance (actually following doctor's orders and taking the medicine) much easier with the name brand.

Gazpacho
07-02-2011, 05:33 AM
The vast majority of the time, generics are equal to the brand names, and people end up wasting a lot of money for brand names. There's no good reason to spend more to buy Advil (brand name ibuprofen) rather than generic ibuprofen. As others have said, when a brand drug loses its patent, chemically identical generic versions can be made. In fact, they're often made by the same company.

That said, there have been cases in which the generic quality control was found to be poor, particularly in the tablet coatings. The most notable is Wellbutrin.

Your doctor should know whether your medication is one that warrants a brand rather than a generic. If s/he prescribed the generic, then I'd be confident taking it.

Lurking Skater
07-02-2011, 05:38 AM
I'm not sure what you mean by a different name. Generics can have different trade names, but they can still be A/B rated to each other. For example, Unithroid and Levoxyl can be used as generic alternatives to Synthroid. They are all levothyroxine and are A/B rated to each other. On the other hand, you can't substitute generic Maxzide if a doctor wrote for Dyazide. Both drugs are triamterene hydrochlorithiazide, but aren't A/B rated to each other, which means that the physician would have to approve the substitution. In the case of that example, one is a capsule and one is a tablet, so they are different forms of each other.

If you're talking about chemical names (levothyroxine, triamterene HCTZ, etc), different chemical names would mean different drugs entirely from one another.

If the chemical names match, it's the same drug. A pharmacy can't substitute a generic if it's not considered equivalent to the brand.

Cheylana
07-02-2011, 06:05 AM
That said, there have been cases in which the generic quality control was found to be poor, particularly in the tablet coatings. The most notable is Wellbutrin.
I think this also applies to generic version of Effexor, which is another antidepressant. I've had many friends complain about the generic Effexor making them feel really sick.

Gazpacho
07-02-2011, 06:22 AM
I think this also applies to generic version of Effexor, which is another antidepressant. I've had many friends complain about the generic Effexor making them feel really sick.I assume they mean Effexor XR. The Wellbutrin generic problem was also with an extended release. The problem wasn't with the chemical but rather the coating dissolving at a different rate than your body was used to from the brand name.

Most of the time, so-called adverse effects with generics are imagined, though if you imagine an adverse effect enough, it can make it real. Some people's bodies are particularly sensitive, but that's the exception and not the rule.

It's sad how much money some people waste by insisting on brand names over generics when almost all the time, the generic is as good.

Vash01
07-02-2011, 06:56 AM
I'm not sure what you mean by a different name. Generics can have different trade names, but they can still be A/B rated to each other. For example, Unithroid and Levoxyl can be used as generic alternatives to Synthroid. They are all levothyroxine and are A/B rated to each other. On the other hand, you can't substitute generic Maxzide if a doctor wrote for Dyazide. Both drugs are triamterene hydrochlorithiazide, but aren't A/B rated to each other, which means that the physician would have to approve the substitution. In the case of that example, one is a capsule and one is a tablet, so they are different forms of each other.

If you're talking about chemical names (levothyroxine, triamterene HCTZ, etc), different chemical names would mean different drugs entirely from one another.

If the chemical names match, it's the same drug. A pharmacy can't substitute a generic if it's not considered equivalent to the brand.

Different chemical names meaning different drugs is pretty obvious. I was talking about the name the drug is sold under.