According to reports revealed by the Union Health Ministry, medicines accounts for the biggest pie in the expenditure of an Indian Household. The burden of medication on Indians can be guessed by the fact that almost 7% of Indian citizens are pulled below the poverty line just by the debt they have from medical spending.
Generic Medicines save billions of dollars every year and in turn, save lives by providing an affordable alternative to brand name medicine.
Generic medicines are intended to do the same thing as branded medicine. You can basically call them a chemical replica of the original. FDA describes generic drugs as “a medication created to be the same as an existing, approved brand-name drug in dosage form, safety, strength, route of administration, quality and performance characteristics”.
Generic medicines are made out of the same active ingredients and API as the brand name drug but are marketed with a generic name.
The World Health Organization (WHO) defines generic medicine as those “produced without a license from the innovator company when the patent or other market exclusivity rights on the innovator product have expired”.
Difference between Generic Medicines and Branded Medicines
When a chemical copy is typically 30-90% cheaper, and in some cases, it is beyond 90%, hesitancy in the usage by patients is natural. Generic medicine should perform as the branded counterpart and should be equally effective. It is mostly true, that generic medicine is effective and will have the same effect as branded medicine. However, detractors have stated that the use of generic medicine may prolong illness or even therapeutic failure as the bioavailability (BA) of a generic drug may not be as good as that of the branded medicine. To put sand on this credibility gap, the Union health ministry amended the rules “to make bioequivalence studies compulsory for certain classes of generic medicine manufactured in India.” If we go ahead and pinpoint everything, there are a few differences between the two. Visually speaking, there are clear differences between brand medicines and generic medicines copies of a drug. Generic medicines may have slightly different inactive ingredients, for example, fillers, binders, flavors, etc. These, however, don’t affect how the medicine works.
The efficiency of Generic Medicine
The reason why generic medicines can be preferred
Cost is the primary reason why the generic drug can be a better choice for you. However, in a developing country like India, there can be scenarios where a patient might be able to afford the brand-name drug at the start. Still, eventually, the cost of the branded drug may result in patients skipping the prescribed medication later when their health condition improves.
In some cases, your insurance provider might not cover the cost of brand name drug. In such cases, it’s better to confirm with your insurance provider if the brand-prescribed medicine will be covered.
Why does branded medicine cost so much more than generic Medicine?
The development of medicines involves a lot of extensive research and clinical trials. New drugs must go through years of testing on animals, and such trials often fail. The overall cost to develop a new drug comes at a huge cost. The sales of a branded drug must pay for all the cost that was involved in the failed trials that came before the success.
Drug companies file for patents and get years of exclusive rights to selling the formulae until another company can manufacture a generic chemical copy.
Ways to find if your medication is generic or branded
The most convenient way to find out is to ask the pharmacist where you buy the prescription. Generic counterparts will always have a significant difference visually in the packaging. Due to the trademarks, the drugs must have significantly different branding.
For viewing the Generic medicine list from the top 200 pharmaceutical companies you can visit various websites available and get a list of generic drugs and their brand names which can reduce your medication burden.
You can also visit the chemist180 website to identify your medicine type.
What decides if you get prescribed a branded medicine or generic medicine
In India, doctors either prescribe branded medicine, or if they prescribe a generic counterpart, it’s entirely on the liking of your doctor.
In most cases, the ‘commission’ from drug-makers motivates doctors to prescribe a particular branded drug when an effective generic option is available in market. However, your past medical history can also affect the choice between generic medicine or branded medicines.
Risks involved in using generic medications
A generic drug should work perfectly fine for you. This is because the active ingredients are the same regardless of a generic drug. Generic drugs also go through approvals and are totally safe. However, in rare cases, due to the inactive ingredients in a drug, you might see some sort of reaction.
Generic medicines account for 71% of the market share of the pharmaceutical industry in India. It’s natural to assume that a developing country will have such dependence of generic drugs. Generic drugs neither hamper nor discourage innovation. They are no threat to the healthcare industry. In fact, generic medicines should be marketed more aggressively so that people can afford good-quality healthcare. In fact, some of the online pharmacy like chemist180 work exclusively for reducing medicine bills of patients by providing generic medicine information.