This year many popular brand-name drugs will become available in generic form. Are they as good?
The Food and Drug Administration approves both brand-name and generic drugs. The two medicines are identical in
- active ingredient(s), strength, quality, safety, and how they work;
- required lab testing to prove they are absorbed 80% - 125% as well as the original (the average tends to be 96% - 104%);
- manufacturing standards that ensure consistency and purity.
Brand-name and generic drugs are different in
- inactive ingredients, such as colors, fillers, binders, and flavorings;
- appearance, such as shape, size, and color;
- clinical testing on humans, which is not required for generics;
- name, because the generic's is scientific instead of created for advertising.
The biggest difference is cost. Generic drugs cost about one-third as much as their brand-name equals. For instance, $50 instead of $150.