Generic Drugs VS Brands
You probably have heard about generic drugs but what are they exactly? Well, all medicines have at least one active ingredient and it's that very substance that gives the drug its effect. The active ingredient has its own name (generic name) which is established by the WHO (World Health Organization) and it's identical throughout the world and can not be owned by any company. The generic name is thus an official designation for the active substance - the active ingredient - which is part of the drug.
New drugs are protected by patents for some time but when the patent has expired, other companies can manufacture and sell the same medicine. These are called generic drugs and are interchangeable with its often better known and almost always more expensive original drug counterpart. The trade names of these copycat drugs are sometimes a combination of the generic name and the manufaturer and sometimes a fancy and easily brandable name.
Also there are instances where the original drug owner does not hold a world wide patent in which case generic drugs may be developed, manufactured and sold on certain markets, often where the original drug owner calculated that their product would be too expensive for the local market to warrant a patent. This is something that is cause for much debate as medications nowadays are dispensed by services delivering to all parts (ie markets) of the world.
Another example where you may see a trade name that appear to be a generic drug is when the original drug owner still hold a patent but has entered into cross licensing agreements with other manufacturers, ie in fact they're not really generics.
To sum up in a fancy and pharmaceutical way is to say that a generic drug is bioequivalent where bioqeuivalence, according to The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA), is defined as "the absence of a significant difference in the rate and extent to which the active ingredient or active moiety in pharmaceutical equivalents or pharmaceutical alternatives becomes available at the site of drug action when administered at the same molar dose under similar conditions in an appropriately designed study."
In laymen terms generic drugs have the same active ingredient(s), in the same dosage or volume, making it work and have the exact same effect as the brand, although it may not look, smell or feel exactly the same.
We'll ellaborate further on this in coming blog posts. For instance there are some drugs, of a more complex nature, that today can not receive generic designations...
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