Why Generic Drugs?

The Agency for Healthcare Research & Quality states that, "consumer spending for prescribed medicines will be $300 billion in 2004". Considering most health insurance plans do not cover medication, the consumer is faced with incurring very high expenses for maintaining good health.

Besides medical fees of your physician, medical tests and hospitalization costs add to this. High prescription expenses will cripple the financially average consumer. Hence Generic medicines is the only way out. According to the Congressional Budget Office, generic drugs save consumers an estimated $8 to $10 billion a year at retail pharmacies. Even more billions are saved when hospitals use generics.

The reason branded drugs are so expensive today is that Health care companies spend millions of dollars on Research and Development, costly animal and clinical research on ingredients or dosage forms , placebo testing, drug interaction research, expensive medical equipment, highly qualified pharmacists and scientists. All these result in a very costly development cycle to the drug company. New drugs, like other new products, are developed under patent protection. So by law they have patents on any new drugs created and earn the sole right to manufacture and sell that particular drug. So obviously these companies price the drug at a rate which ensures that they recover the expenses incurred to create that drug. The company has 14 years of marketing before other companies can offer a similar product.

Health professionals and consumers can be assured that FDA approved generic drugs have met the same rigid standards as the innovator drug. To gain FDA approval, a generic drug must:

  • contain the same active ingredients as the innovator drug (inactive ingredients may vary)
  • be identical in strength, dosage form, and route of administration
  • have the same use indications
  • be bioequivalent
  • meet the same batch requirements for identity, strength, purity, and quality
  • be manufactured under the same strict standards of FDA's good manufacturing practice
  • regulations required for innovator products

Generic drugs cost much lesser than branded ones because of several reasons. As the major expenses are already incurred by the parent company in producing and fine tuning the product, the major task while re-introducing in a foreign country is in making a manufacturing unit. So the laboratory costs, cost of pharmacists, technicians is all that is incurred. Usually the taxes are lower, incentives are given by the host country, cost of labor is lesser. All these reasons result in the same company churning out a cheaper generic product in a foreign country.

That's why you must avail of the opportunity to get cheaper drugs when it is is easily available via the Internet. The savings can be anything up to 60-65%!