Posted: 08/14/2013

Generic Vs. Brand Name Drugs: What Is The Difference?

Generic_vs._brand_name_drugs

First things first: there is no difference. A generic medication is in most ways an exact copy of its brand name counterpart. Use cases, dosage, medicinal effects, side effects, strength and administration are all the same between generic and brand name – the primary difference is its manufacturer and marketing tactics.

Generic medications are developed once a brand name medication’s patent expires. As the patent nears its pre-established expiration date, drug developers may take the opportunity to manufacture a generic version of the near-expired drug and apply to the FDA for approval to make and distribute.

A common myth is that generic and brand name drugs differ in strength and legitimacy – that perhaps they are not as medicinally effective. The fact is, the difference is the drug manufacturer's marketing and promotional resume. A generic drug does not require the same research and marketing tactics, as the brand name drug has already “jumped those hoops.”

The existence of generic and brand name medications increases competition between drug manufacturers, in turn nudging prices down.

This life cycle isn’t always ideal for the patent owners, as their sales can plummet. It isn’t uncommon for the patent owner to request a 6 month extension on their patent when approaching the expiration date.

For example, Lipitor, a top drug for cholesterol control, lost its market exclusivity in 2011. The generic, Atorvastatin, entered the market, causing Lipitor sales to drop and Pfizer Inc., the manufacturer, to report a 14% third quarter profit loss the following year (2012).

So, the next time your pharmacist tells you that your insurer prefers the generic or brand name version of your prescription, understand this is based on relationship and price adjudication. The preference is not of medical value. Flavors and colors may differ – but efficacy is consistent.

By HelpRx Staff Writer

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HelpRx.info is staffed by experts in the prescription medication industry. Get the latest health, medical news and pharmaceutical news that can save you money and allow you to take charge of your healthcare. With frequent updates about the prescription drug industry as well as medicine news, you'll gain an insider look into the industry and learn more about how to get the best price on your prescriptions while not sacrificing quality. Subscribe to the HelpRx.info pharmacy blog through our RSS feed or get updates by liking HelpRx.info on Facebook and following HelpRx.info on Twitter.

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Get your Prescription Discount Card and automatically SAVE on over 50,000 drugs nationwide.

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About the HelpRx.info Blog

HelpRx.info is staffed by experts in the prescription medication industry. Get the latest health, medical news and pharmaceutical news that can save you money and allow you to take charge of your healthcare. With frequent updates about the prescription drug industry as well as medicine news, you'll gain an insider look into the industry and learn more about how to get the best price on your prescriptions while not sacrificing quality. Subscribe to the HelpRx.info pharmacy blog through our RSS feed or get updates by liking HelpRx.info on Facebook and following HelpRx.info on Twitter.

About HelpRx

Our discounts provide you access to negotiated prices on your prescription drugs at your local pharmacy. We can provide these because we're partnered with OptumRx, a BIG pharmacy benefit provider that provides prescription coverage for MILLIONS of people like you.

About ScriptRelief

Script Relief, the creator of the NPSN card and HelpRx discounts, helps consumers save an average of 50%, and up to 75%, off their prescriptions.

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About Our Savings:

HelpRx.info is a discount pharmacy service, partnered with a leading pharmacy benefit manager. We negotiate lower prices on prescription medications, that we pass on to our members for free. There is no cost to use our cards and coupon, and anyone can take advantage of our discounts, regardless of healthcare coverage.

Our savings assurance of “up to 75% off” comes from historical data from actual claims. This data includes savings for both brand name and generic medications.