Health: Choosing Between Generic And Brand Name Drugs


| October 2008



Understanding more about generic and brand name drugs could be good for your wallet and your health.

First, what's the difference, anyway? Branded medicines result from years of research and major financial investments by pharmaceutical and biotech companies. These medicines are protected by patents. Generic drugs are copies of branded medicines, allowed after patents expire. Before a patent expires, no generic may be available.

Generics can be a smart option for many people, and the drugs may save them and the health care system money. However, some brand and generic medicines may have subtle differences, such as differences in the formulation or the amount of drug that enters the body.

Formulation Differences May Be Important

According to a recent survey sponsored by PriCara, a division of Ortho-McNeil-Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc., among the 47 percent of pharmacists who recommended a brand name medication over its generic equivalent, 54 percent cited a formulation issue that could be important to a specific patient.

For instance:





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