Generic Drugs - cheap or unsafe?

Generic Drugs - cheap or unsafe?

Generic drugs are made by companies other than the inventor. Felix Hoffman, working for the German company Bayer, invented the medicine aspirin.

Today, many companies make and sell aspirin under a multitude of names. In fact, the patent for aspirin expired a long time ago. Generic drugs are the alternative.

So, should you take a generic drug?

Have you not always suspected that perhaps the medicines you are taking are not really doing their job? Do generic drugs have a role to play?

When you are evaluating the efficacy of a drug, you are looking at a couple of parameters.

The first is the active pharmaceutical ingredient, also known as API. The API is the ingredient that is doing the magic—making a pain go away or stopping a bacteria in its tracks.

The second is bioavailability. The ability of the active ingredient to reach its intended destination after being filtered by your body is known as bioavailability.

The third is bioequivalence. Can the generic ingredients act as effectively as the original ingredients?

So how do generic drugs rate on these parameters?

The basis of a generic drug is its ability to make a drug cheaper. When a drug is invented, billions are spent on research and development and the approval process.

Often, new products do not get approval. There are severe side effects, or the results don't align with the original plan. The manufacturer's costs add up, all of which are then passed on to you and me.

On the other hand, a generic does not incur these costs. The product has undergone innovation and validation. It is just being copied. Therefore, the generic should match the original if they used the exact ingredients.

That's why we need to revisit the parameters. The formula for the API may remain unchanged. However, the quality of the ingredients and the process used can affect the bioavailability and bioequivalence.

If you are using generic drugs, do some research on the brand and their reputation.

Here is a link to a site that tells you which drugs are off patent.

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