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Differences between Generic and Brand Name Drugs

Differences between Generic and Brand Name Drugs

The pharmaceutical industry has become one of the most developed sectors recently. The progressive advancements in science and technology, in general, have been one of the factors that have stimulated the growth of this industry. The pharmaceuticals industry comprises drug manufacturers, biotechnology companies, and the distribution and wholesale companies that handle the products produced.

The utilization of medicine and drugs has been documented since the Medieval Ages when ancient communities discovered the potential healing properties of herbs and plants. Generic and brand-name drugs are two categories of pharmaceutical drugs that differ in several ways.

Whenever a company discovers a new drug, the first step is to get it patented and prevent other companies from producing and selling it in their name. Getting a patent is a time-consuming process as one has to go through multiple checks on the invention’s novelty, non-obviousness, and industrial applicability.

So the company chooses to produce and sell the drug under a brand name until it gets a patent. During this time, the name becomes synonymous with the drug. But after the patent expires, other companies have the right to produce a similar drug.

This gives rise to brand and generic drugs in the pharmaceutical industry. A brand name drug refers to the name given by the producing company to gain profits and get recognized by potential customers.

Giving a name to your drug makes it easier for customers to identify your brand and build consumer loyalty. A generic drug refers to a drug created out of the active ingredient found in the brand name drug.

Currently, 90 percent, 9 out of 10 of all prescriptions dispensed in the United States are for generic drugs.

For branding purposes, generic drugs are not the same in look, colour, taste, and shape as the brand name drugs and must have their unique brand name.

Drugs in cart | Differences between Generic and Brand Name Drugs
Generic vs Brand Name Drugs | Daily Pharmacy Store

Differences between Generic and Brand Name Drugs:


The price of brand name drugs is usually set at a higher side as compared to that of generic drugs. This is done in order to recover the cost of research and development(R&D), marketing, labor, clinical trials, and many more.

Generic drugs cost less than their brand-name equivalents. According to the FDA, the price can be up to 85% less.

As the generic drugs use the same active ingredient used by the branded companies, they do not have to conduct clinical trials as the tests have been done before.

This saves producers a big chunk of money and is easy on consumers’ pockets as they have to pay less to get the same drug.

Competition & Cost

Competition plays a big hand in keeping the price of a drug.

When more than one company produces a general interpretation of the same drug, there’s further competition.

As competition increases, the price of drugs decreases, which leads to lower-price games in the market.

People are aware of these price differences, affecting which medication they choose.

A study by researchers showed that many people consider buying a generic drug due to its lower price than a branded one.

Generic drugs cost less than their brand-name equivalents. For some people, this cost difference is the deciding factor.


In the United States, the trademark laws are so stringent that they do not allow generic drugs to look the same as equivalent brand-name drugs.

Differences can be seen by using non-active ingredients such

as dyes, fillers, and preservatives to help determine the size, shape, and colour.

A company must get its drug approved by the concerned authorities before selling it.

The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA or US FDA) is a civil agency of the Department of Health and Human Services. The FDA is responsible for guarding and promoting public health through the control and supervision of food safety, tobacco products, caffeine products, and beneficial supplements, traditional and pharmaceutical medicines (drugs).


The FDA requires general medicines to meet some standards before approval.

These include:

The general medicine is “ pharmaceutically original ” to the brand medicine.

The manufacturer can produce general medicine both correctly and consistently.

The general medicine has the same “ active component ” as the brand medicine.

The correct quantum of the active component gets to the target area in the body.

The ” inactive constituents ” in general medicine are safe.

The general medicine bottle, box, or other vessel is suitable.

The general medicine’s label is identical to the brand medicine’s.

The general medicine doesn’t deteriorate over time.

The legal exclusivities or patents have expired.

The medicine company must submit an ANDA (Abbreviated New Drug Application), abbreviated new drug application.

 It states that general medicine meets each standard.

Consumer’s Perspective

Researchers have found three main reasons for a person’s attitude and intention to purchase generic drugs.

Consumer attitude and behavior-

This combines a person’s beliefs and passion about a product and their behavioral intention toward that product.

Consumer views include a person’s and their healthcare professional’s views toward generic drugs.

Risks: This includes the risks, if any, associated with the generic drug.

The researchers feel that if the pharmaceutical industry, public health policymakers, and healthcare professionals understand consumer attitudes and behavior toward generic medicine, they could expand generic drug use.


The main difference between generic drugs and brand-name drugs is their cost and the fact that generic drugs are copies of brand-name drugs with the same active ingredient, strength, dosage form, and route of administration. In contrast, brand-name drugs are developed and sold by a pharmaceutical company under a proprietary name and are protected by patents.

Brand and generic medications must prove they are both safe and effective for FDA approval. If you choose to take a brand medication over a generic, your insurance may require you to pay full price.

However, discussing brand and generic drug options with a healthcare professional is advisable. This allows a person to make the right decision for their health and personal circumstances.

“Medicine heals doubts as well as diseases.” – Karl Marx.

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