The Truth About Generic Drugs

A pharmacist holding a tray of pills, surrounded by prescription drug bottles(BlackDoctor.org) — The myths and misunderstandings surrounding generic medications have long fueled allegations of ineffectiveness, inferiority to brand-name drugs, and unnecessarily increased costs for people who need to take those medications.

What Are The Similarities Between Brand Name & Generic Drugs?

Same Active Ingredients. The simple truth is that when a generic drug product is approved, it has to prove that it meets the rigorous standards established by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for drug identity, strength, quality, purity and potency. That means that generic drugs must have the same active ingredient, strength, dosage form, and route of administration as the brand name product.

Similar Blood Levels. A generic drug must be shown to give blood levels that are very similar to those of the brand-name product. If blood levels are the same, the FDA assumes that the therapeutic effect will be the same as well. Because of the similarity, the generic drug will not need to undergo additional clinical studies to prove effectiveness, and the FDA can provide assurance that the generic product will perform the same as its respective brand name product. This standard applies to all generic drugs, whether immediate or controlled release.

Same Quality Standards. The sites where generic medications are manufactured, tested, and packaged must also pass the same quality standards and specifications as those of brand name drugs. Many people are unaware of the fact that many generic drugs are made in the same plants as innovator brand name drug products.