People who have had a chance to stand at a pharmacy aisle and choose between brand-name or generic drug have probably wondered about the differences. After all, whether one spends a few dollars versus tens or hundreds of dollars is material enough to make the buyer second-guess themselves. Unfortunately, merely glancing over the prices will not allow for a full understanding of what the true variations between the drugs are. This is why it is important to conduct some preliminary research and arrive at a well-rounded conclusion about the factual discrepancies between drugs whose names are usually capitalized (brand-name) and those that are not (generic).
Vilvet Pharmaceutical is an innovative distributor and manufacturer of pharmaceutical products. With years of experience, they are known for pursuing constant technological improvements and overseeing the current trends in the drug market. According to them, the first variation between any brand-name and generic drug is in its chemical nature. To better understand this, consider the fact that the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) permits drug makers to have a 20-percent variation when it comes to the active ingredient of the formula that originally accompanied a certain product.
In other words, according to Harvard Health, if a name-brand drug has been developed via specific formula, the generic offspring of such drug can have up to 20 percent disconnect from the active ingredient. Nonetheless, most producers do not go that high and tend to keep the variation down to about 5 percent from the original recipe. That way, the consumers’ reactions to the formula will be somewhat predictable since the change to the chemical components is not big enough to bring unwarranted side-effects or compromise results. Therefore, contrary to popular belief, name-brand and generic drugs can indeed be different (though only slightly) when it comes to their molecular makeup.
The Testing Process
Next, generic drugs do not go through the same testing process as name-brand drugs. This is because the FDA deems it unnecessary to mandate the identical testing requirements on drugs that are essentially already tested. Vilvet Pharmaceutical further explains this by comparing two drugs that are only different by a few percentage points of the active ingredient. Based on extensive studies, such a small difference has not been proven to alter the expected results.
What does that mean for the buyers? Well, it means that people who are purchasing a name-brand drug are getting a product that has indeed been extensively tested on controlled groups and the outcomes were closely monitored. Generic alternatives, on the other hand, seldom go through the extensive process of clinical trials as they rely on the results derived by their brand-name founders. So, someone buying a generic drug will not have the same assurance that there is written and quantifiable proof about the rate of effectiveness of the medicine in question.
Discussing this topic in detail without mentioning the price difference would be quite misleading as the cost presents the major distinction here. In fact, as per the FDA itself, generic drugs can be sold for up to 85 percent less than brand-name products. When translated in dollar terms annualized for people who may be prescribed drugs for chronic conditions, this yields tens of thousands of dollars in savings over a period of just a few years. Hence why the appeal for brand-name drugs that carry extensive clinical research and testing tends to take a backseat to their skyrocketing costs.
Finally, although there are some obvious discrepancies in the process through which different types of drugs are created and approved, what does their ultimate effectiveness look like? More precisely, is it fair to make a claim that brand-name drugs are more effective? After all, this would certainly explain the incomparable prices between the two.
In reality, however, there has been no substantial evidence that directly proves brand-name drugs are more effective than generic drugs. Vilvet Pharmaceutical alongside Harvard Health confirms that the research conducted in this area has not been conclusive enough due to a lot of factors that could have skewed the results. Not to mention the fact that it would take a lot of extensive data directly agreeing with the claim that brand-name drugs are better in order to justify a five or more times greater price. Odds are, however, that kind of data will probably never be attained because it does not seem to be applicable.
Making the Final Choice
In most situations, choosing the generic drug is completely justified. Doing so will certainly save a lot of money while most likely delivering the same results as any brand-name counterpart. Of course, all symptoms should be reported immediately because they might stem from switching to a new type of drug and should be discussed with a medical expert.