Q: Are generic versions of drugs really just as good (and safe) as their brand-name counterparts?
A: Yes, for many reasons. Today, almost half of all prescriptions in the United States are filled with generic drugs. They are less expensive and often require a lower co-pay if you have insurance, which could mean big cost savings for you. Generic drug manufacturers don’t have the initial investment costs associated with development of a new drug. Original manufacturers are given a patent for their drug to protect their investment, including research, development, and marketing costs. A generic drug is not available until that patent expires, about 20 years after the patent is received. Once a generic version is available, competition helps keep costs down even more.
What is the prescription?
Why do I need this drug?
What will this drug do for me?
How much do I take, how often, and for how long?
Does it matter what time of day I take this drug?
What side effects should I watch for?
What should I do if I have a bad reaction?
How will this drug interact with other prescription or over-the-counter drugs I am taking?
How will this drug interact with vitamins, herbal supplements, or foods?
If I feel better before I finish the prescr...
What about effectiveness? For the most part, they are just as good as brand-name drugs. Generics have the same active ingredients; in fact, the FDA requires that generics be as strong as brand-name drugs and work just as quickly. They also carry the same risk of side effects. This means that, even though the shape and size of a generic pill may differ from the brand-name pill you’re used to, it should work the same in the body.