In reading the article about generic drugs and the subsequent comments, I am amazed at how much mis-information and confusion exists.
Let’s start with a few facts:
- Generics are approved by the FDA and have to have the same manufacturing standards.
- Generics receive a rating (e.g., A-B) and are chemically equivalent to the brand drug upon whose patent they are based.
- Chemically equivalent drugs have the same active ingredients but different inactive ingredients.
- Generics cost less since there is no research and no sales and marketing activity to support.
- A high percentage of generic drugs are made by the brand drug manufacturers.
- Consumers save money on generics. Pharmacies and PBMs make money on generics. Plan sponsors (i.e., employers) save money on generics. Everybody wins!
- The variance in active ingredients is no different on generics than it is on brands.
There is definitely plenty of misinformation out there. I would suggest sticking with sites like the FDA’s site on what’s real.
- Nearly 1/3rd of Americans don’t know or believe that generics are identical to brand drugs. (They’re not identical, but the active ingredients are. I would have asked the question differently.)
- 2/3rds of respondents didn’t know that generics typically cost 50-70% less than brands. (That surprises me.)
Jacqueline Kosecoff, Ph.D., chief executive officer of Prescription Solutions, said, “Using generics helps make health care more affordable without compromising results. Many Americans erroneously believe that the most expensive drug is always the most effective drug, so by helping to change perceptions, we can help people save money and still get the best treatment available.”