Prof. Allison C.
Generic V. Brand Name Products
Generic drugs are copies of brand-name drugs that have the exact same dosage and ingredients. There isn’t really much of a difference between, generic drugs and name brand drugs. Generic drugs are essentially the same, the intended use, side effects, and risks are all pretty much directly linked to the original drug. In other words, the drug carries the same results as its expensive counterpart.
A good example of a generic drug is acetaminophen. A brand name for acetaminophen is Tylenol. (Brand names are usually capitalized while generic names are not.) Acetaminophen is a generic drug, one used for headaches, nausea, and heart pain.
Many consumers become alarmed because of how generic drugs are often significantly cheaper than the brand-name versions. They often wonder about the quality and effectiveness and if its been compromised to be made cheaper. Many steps have been taken to ensure this doesn’t happen. The FDA (U.S. Food and Drug Administration) requires that generic drugs be as safe and effective as brand-name drugs. When a generic drug product is approved, it has met high standards to be effective, safe, and pure enough for consumption. However, some variability can and does occur during mass production. The FDA does a great job of limiting how much variability is acceptable.
In actuality, generic drugs are only less expensive because the manufacturers of the drug have not spared the expenses of developing and marketing a new drug. When a company decides to develop a new drug, the firm has already spent significant funds on research, development, marketing and promotion of the drug. A patent is then granted that gives the developer of the drug an exclusive right to sell the drug as long as the patent is in effect.
Although more people feel safer using regular generic brand drugs nowadays, some are skeptical of the effects of more serious drugs, like antidepressants. As seen in a recent study on WebMD.com, “a group of Canadian psychiatrists described seven cases in which patients with depression were taking Paxil or Celexa. When their medication was switched to the generics -- paroxetine and citalopram – they experienced a relapse of their depression” Several people have claimed a relapse in depression or an ongoing bout of side effects when switching from brand named to generic drugs. It normally isn’t a situation that generic drugs are less effective than brand named drugs, but generic drugs could be different in ways that exist but have a slight impact.
A cheaper product simply does not mean it’s of lower quality. Generic manufacturers have much more freedom to sell their products for lower prices because they are released from the burden of having to repeat the costly clinical trials of new products and generally do not pay for advertising, marketing, and promotion. Consumers are stuck on the feeling of security that comes with buying a brand named product, but there really isn’t much of a need to be weary of generic products. Its been said that the majority of consumers in the US wouldn’t be able to determine the difference between a generic and brand named cereal if they ate them with their eyes closed.
One way that brand named companies have tried to focus attention away from generic products is by including special offers on the labeling. They’ve included coupons on the boxes and toys inside. Generic brands will almost never have coupons attached to them, and will almost always be hidden out of plain sight. Brand named cereal boxes are