Generic Drugs FAQs
WHAT IS A GENERIC DRUG?
A generic drug is the same as a brand-name drug in:
- dosage, strength, safety, quality,
- the way it works,
- the way it is taken, and
- the way it should be used.
ARE GENERIC DRUGS AS SAFE AS BRAND-NAME DRUGS?
Yes. The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires that all drugs be safe and effective. Generic equivalent drugs use the same active ingredients as brand-name drugs and work the same way.
WILL THE PHARMACIST GIVE ME A GENERIC DRUG IF ONE IS AVAILABLE?
Yes. Network pharmacies may substitute a generic drug for a brand-name drug if one is available. If the brand-name drug is requested when a generic is available, your doctor must request prior authorization or an exception for it to be covered.
ARE GENERIC DRUGS AS STRONG AS BRAND-NAME DRUGS?
Yes. FDA requires generic drugs to be equal to brand-name drugs in quality, strength, purity, and stability.
DO GENERIC DRUGS TAKE LONGER TO WORK IN THE BODY?
No. Generic drugs work in the same way and in the same amount of time as brand-name drugs.
WILL GENERIC DRUGS INTERACT THE SAME WAY AS BRAND-NAME DRUGS WITH OVER-THE-COUNTER DRUGS?
Yes. Generic drugs will act the same way as brand-name drugs. Be sure to discuss all the drugs you take with your doctor or pharmacist to reduce the risk of adverse reactions.
ARE BRAND-NAME DRUGS MADE IN BETTER FACTORIES THAN GENERIC DRUGS?
No. All factories must meet the same high standards.
DOES EVERY BRAND-NAME DRUG HAVE A GENERIC EQUIVALENT?
No. New brand-name drugs have a patent when they are first made. Most drug patents are protected for several years. The patent protects the company that originally made the drug. The patent does not allow another drug company to make and sell the drug. When the patent expires, other drug companies can start selling the generic version of the drug after it has been tested and approved by the FDA.
WHY ARE GENERIC DRUGS LESS EXPENSIVE?
Developing a new drug is very expensive. Since generic drug companies do not develop a drug from scratch, the costs to bring the drug to market are less. Generic drug companies, however, must show that their drug acts in the same way as the brand-name drug. The FDA approves all generic drugs before they are released to the public.
WHY WOULD MY DOCTOR CHOOSE A GENERIC OVER A BRAND-DRUG?
Generic drugs are proven to be safe, effective, and typically cost much less than brand-name drugs.
WHAT IS THE BEST SOURCE OF INFORMATION ABOUT GENERIC DRUGS?
Talk to your doctor or pharmacist for more information about generic drugs.