Generic drugs – 2: How effective is generic medication?
When a generic drug is produced, it has to meet several rigorous standards set by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The generic version of a brand-name drug is usually introduced when the manufacturer’s patent on the drug expires. Although generic drugs carry the same specifications as that of branded drugs, they often have to face a bizarre question, “are they effective?”
During the late 90s, generic drugs accounted for less than 19 percent of the prescriptions. But in recent times, nearly 8 out of 10 prescriptions are filled with generic drugs in the United States, according to the FDA. In the U.S., there are more than 7,800 generic versions of various drugs.
Are generic drugs less effective?
Generic drugs carry the same proportion of ingredients, strength, performance, safety, quality and characteristics as that of brand-name drugs. A generic drug produces the same effect as that of its counter drug. The only reason why they often stand in the cliff of questions is their considerable low price.
In 1990, FDA laboratories tested a group of generic drugs, which included antibiotics, contraceptives, and other medications used to treat high blood pressure, epilepsy, heart disease and asthma. The drugs met all the desired standards set by FDA in all the cases.
There are several misconceptions around generic drugs. People sometimes think generic drugs are too slow or have different side effects than their branded counterparts, but there are no evidences. Here are some of the myths and facts about generic drugs:
Myth: Generic drugs are cheap because they are of low quality
Fact: Being cheap doesn’t define a drug’s quality. Generic drugs, unlike the branded ones, do not have to pass through extensive research, experiments and tests. They are the derivatives of the same drugs. As a branded drug had already passed through several tests and incurred the expenses of years of research, its generic version does not have to duplicate the original clinical trials for effectiveness and safety. That is why generic drugs are less expensive.
Myth: Every brand-name drug has a generic drug
Fact: A generic drug gets approval prior to the patent expiration for the branded drug. Most drug patents are protected for 20 years after the FDA filing. When a copyright drug’s patent is about to expire, the other companies apply for FDA approval and start selling the generic version of it.
Myth: Generics are not as safe as brand-name drugs
Fact: FDA has set a list of specifications and guidelines to meet the demand for approval of a generic drug, which includes having the same active ingredients, strength, quality, dosage form, route of administration and be bioequivalent as that of the innovator drug.
Dangers of generic drugs
With every invention of a new drug, companies exercise patents on them, so that others are not able to manufacture a generic drug with the same properties. However, once the patent expires, drug companies starts manufacturing generic drugs that widen their accessibility to a plethora of users. In the United States, patent expiry and manufacturing of generic drugs pose a health risk, also opening a window for fueling addiction to drugs.
Moreover, with generic drugs, abuse-deterrent measures might not be applied, like non-crushable versions of pills etc. that restrains a person to abuse them. Without such features, generic drugs are more prone to be abused, also by people who are already addicted to opioids or other prescription drugs to get a high. Since a generic drug is less expensive than its branded counterpart, people find it more pocket-friendly, thus preferring their use.
In March 2016, FDA urged generic drug makers to redesign their drugs like oxycodone and hydrocodone with “abuse-deterrent properties” to curb the growing prescription drug abuse in the U.S. Reflecting this, FDA Commissioner Dr. Robert Califf said in a press meet, “By issuing the draft guidance, the FDA is helping to ensure that generic abuse-deterrent opioids are no less abuse deterrent than their brand-name counterparts.”
Living a healthy life
Generic drugs work in the same manner as their branded counterparts. They usually take the same time to produce effective results. However, both generic drugs and the branded ones are prone to be abused by people. Drug abuse can have severe impact on a person’s mental and physical health conditions. As a result, one should seek treatment, if one is addicted to such drugs.
If you or someone you know is battling with a drug addiction problem, it is important to seek help immediately. The Texas Drug Addiction Treatment can guide you to one of the best drug addiction treatment facilities in Texas. You can chat online with our representatives or call our 24/7 helpline at 855-980-5757 to get information about the best drug addiction treatment centers in Texas.