Generic drugs in a nutshell

A generic drug is any medication that is promoted under the name of its active ingredients, also referred to as its chemical name. Different from brand drugs, generic drug names are not aimed to make them memorable, but rather to simply state the technical composition of said drug. Generic drugs are also known as generics, generic meds, generic medications, generic medicine and others.

In the approval process of promoting the standard medication, the generic drug manufacturers have to submit the abbreviated new drug application (ANDA) and that is how their generic name is born.

To give you more context, when a healthcare company discovers a new drug, companies have the opportunity to provide them with a name easy for the general person to remember. This brand name is often patent protected for a couple years. But once the patent expires, they may apply to sell the generic version of the brand-name product. The approval process is not as complicated as it is for the first time. You can learn more about brand drugs here.

What is the difference between generic and brand-name drugs?

Generic drugs and brand drugs have similar effects.

Generic versions of the brand-name products also go through testing for strength, quality, potency, and purity before getting approval from the FDA. They have the same active ingredient and are effective as the original. 

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However, there are a few differences between brand-name and generic drugs, including:

  • They might not look the same
  • Have different inactive ingredients

This is because the trademark laws in the United States usually do not allow generic drugs to look exactly like brand-name drugs.           

In Canada, Health Canada (a monitoring body) monitors the safety and efficacy of generic medications.

What are the main advantages of generics over brand-name drugs?

To begin with, the generic version of the medication is as effective as the brand-name counterpart.

Some advantage of generic drugs include:

  • Cheaper alternative
  • Easy to find them
  • Easy to stay on the course (this is because of the high copay of the brand-name products

In some cases, where a generic version is not available, your physician may prescribe a therapeutic alternative. This means a similar acting medicine for your condition may be prescribed if the brand-name product is not effective or it is costly, and generic medication is not available for the same.

How to buy generic medications with PocketPills?

If you are looking to buy generic medication online, PocketPills can be your go-to destination. 

All you need to do is create a profile and enter the medicine name you need to buy. If it is a prescription medication, you will need a small additional step of uploading your prescription. And that is it. You will get the medicines delivered to your doorstep without any additional cost.

If you don’t have a prescription, there is nothing to worry about. You can talk to our licensed physicians, and they will write a prescription for you.

You can learn more about the process here

Do you need a prescription to buy generic medications?

If the generic drug product belongs to the class of prescription drugs, you will need a prescription to buy it either online or offline.

So, it all depends on the type of medicine you are looking for.

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Are generic drugs less expensive than brand drugs?

Yes, in most cases, generic drugs are less expensive than their brand-name counterparts.

Some reasons for the same include:

  • The pharmaceutical or healthcare brand has to conduct tests to prove the drug is safe and effective. These approval processes are costly, and the manufacturers may pass some of the costs to the customers.
  • The brand-name medication is sold just by the company. But several companies sell the generic version, resulting in competitive prices.

Are brand drugs better than generic?

No, this is not always the case. However, in some cases, you may need to take only the brand-name product.

This is especially true when there is no generic available. This may also be the case if you do not respond well to the generic drug or develop an allergy to an inactive ingredient. 

Besides, physicians do not prefer switching to a generic drug from a brand-name medicine when it has a narrow therapeutic index (NTI). This means that the window between the benefits and harm is small. Your doctor will advise regular tests to make sure you are in the safe window in such cases. Some examples include warfarin, levothyroxine, and digoxin.

What are some of the most popular generic medications?

Some of the popular generic medications in Canada include:

Are there generic medications for prescription and over-the-counter medications?

Absolutely. In most cases, generic medications are available for prescription and over-the-counter medications.

What are the most popular health concerns treated with generic medications?

Both generic and brand-name products can be used to treat any condition. However, some conditions such as seizures may require you to take the brand-name product as even the slightest difference may cause a significant change in response to the medicine.

Some common conditions treated with generics are:

  • Thyroid
  • High cholesterol levels
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Infections
  • High cholesterol levels
  • Hypertension
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