Are name-brand drugs better than generic drugs?

According to the FDA, almost 8 out of 10 prescriptions are filled for generic drugs in the U.S. However, many question the quality of generics. Does expensive mean better? Should I buy the name-brand just in case? Some wonder if name-brand drugs are superior.

FDA Requirements

The first thing I decided to check was the key differences between generic and name-brands. Other than the label and price, I didn’t find much. In fact, I was shocked at how little difference I found between the two.

Furthermore, the FDA requires both generic drugs and name-brands to go under the same manufacturing process.

They both:

  • Have the same dosage, active ingredients, and route of administration
  • Must pass the same standard of quality
  • Are bio-equivalents of each other
  • Most are manufactured in the within the same facility

There is relatively no difference between the two. The FDA also highly regulates these drugs to assure their consistent quality.

Main Difference

So what is the main distinction between generic and name-brand drugs? It seems that the difference is in the cost. A statistic from the Association for Accessible Medicines (AAM) states that “generics have saved Americans $1.67 trillion over the last decade.” That is a tremendous reduction in the cost of prescription drugs for Americans.

The reason generic drug manufacturers can sell their products for a lower price is due to the fact that they don’t have to pay for clinical trials for new drugs. They also don’t have to keep up with advertising, marketing, and promotions like name-brands do. Plus, with all the competition in the market, it will lower the price. Furthermore, the reason why the packaging is different is because of trademark laws.

Buy Generic

If they are the exact same as generic drugs then what is the purpose of buying name-brand? In my opinion, it seems naive for individuals to buy name-brand drugs based on higher quality. It has been proven that both manufacture their drugs the same way. Additionally, the FDA highly regulates generic brands to ensure that they are quality.

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