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Dr. Scott Grassel

Question:

I have been taking a name brand medication for the past three years. Recently, my doctor prescribed a generic. Is the generic as effective as the name brand? Why would my doctor prescribe a generic over a name brand?

Answer:

To begin to answer this question, not all brand name drugs have a generic available. The possibility of a generic form becoming available occurs as a brand name drug’s patent expires. Generic drug manufacturers can then apply to the Food and Drug Admini­stration (FDA) for permission to produce a generic form of a given drug.

Generic drugs are generally cheaper because they do not have the costs of research, development and marketing that was originally associated with the brand drug.

Government regulatory agencies like the FDA require the amount of active drug in the generic to be very close to the original brand drug. There can, although, be differences in the inactive ingredients.

Generally, the effectiveness of the generic should be very close to the effectiveness of the brand drug, and in most cases the generic form is a great option for the patient. I would also say, as always, the prescriber has the patient’s best interest in mind when suggesting the generic form.

Dr. Scott Grassel PharmD, Pharmacy Director, Payson Regional Medical Center

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