Brand Name vs Generic Drug Costs in the USA: A Price Comparison Guide

Category: Drug Information


Posted on June 1, 2020

Vanessa is a health writer and blogging expert. Her specialities are medicine, health and wellness. She is proud to call Vancouver, BC her home where she enjoys the ocean and mountains with her dog Mr. ChowChow.

brand name vs generic

A lot of changes occur in a country that grows exponentially each year. We see new businesses, ideas, and brands' surface. We then decide which service best serves us. A fine example is within the pharmaceutical industry. We may find ourselves at an eternal tug of war choosing between brand name or generic drugs.

What makes people decide on brand name vs generic and visa versa? Is one truly better than the other? Both offer the same results, so is the price difference really nothing more than who made it?

This comparison guide will inform you of everything you need to know about the two, including the reason behind its pricing.

Brand Name vs Generic Drugs

Determining whether to purchase a brand name drug or the generic version is up to the person. When you are looking to compare the two, you must first be able to determine which is which.

The primary way to figure this out isn't too hard; just use your eyes. There are strict trademark laws in place that state generic and brand name drugs must not look identical. Asides from the name, common differences you will see might be the:

  • Packaging
  • Flavorings used
  • Color
  • Shape
  • Inactive ingredients

Other than these factors, the two types of drugs share the same desired outcome. They use the same active ingredient needed to make the medication work.

Brand Name Drugs

Brand name drugs are a prized possession to some who believe it to be the right choice. Brand names are well-known and do not have to fight for marketing as much as generic brands.

It is true that brand name drugs are believed to work well, and with the right active ingredient(s), they do. There are also other reasons people decide to stick with the brand.

Some may not do well on the generic version. While this is a rare case, it can happen due to a few differences in inactive ingredients. Others may find they absorb it differently because of how the tablet is created. This can lead to negative side effects (minor or transient) that disappear when they use the brand name.

Other times, a generic choice is simply not an option. When there is no alternative, a consumer is left with no other choice but to use the brand. A common reason generics may not be made is because a manufacturer has no clue what is in the original.

If you need a drug and must use a narrow therapeutic index, the need for higher safety sparks many to use the brand name. Minor differences in improper dosage calculation can be fatal or cause major adverse reactions. Those who are prescribed a brand drug like this find it too risky to switch to a generic version.

Also, doctors may write "do not substitute" in a prescription. This must be honored.

Why Are Brand Name Drugs More Expensive?

It is no easy task to get the brand name title for a drug. The original developer must agree to a series of tests. These tests, often done as clinical trials, are needed to deem the drug safe and effective. Clinical trials cost big bucks, and these fees are often passed on to the consumer.

A sole manufacturer sells their brand name drugs. While this means they essentially get all the profit, producing the goods is still expensive. To offset the cost of production, the price is also raised.

Generic Drugs

When people hear the term "generic" there is often the negative connotation that it is of lesser quality. Many believe they can't compare to the original and consider them to be nothing more than a knock-off.

These false thoughts lead many to turn away from generic drugs. The prized factor on generic brands is that they are made to work the same as the branded version.

Contrary to common belief, these drugs offer the same results when you look at their strength and quality. Even the dosage instructions and route of administration are alike.

They are NOT less effective and must meet rigorous FDA requirements to go on the market. Proof is needed by the FDA to validate the drug offers the same benefits as the brand name.

Tests are completed to unveil how sturdy the package is and how long it can last before it expires. Even after approval, inspections are done often to maintain safety and check for any unwarranted side effects.

You can easily swap a brand name medication for the generic and get the same results. Quality is not altered unlike the case it is with generic foods.

Why Are Generic Drugs Cheaper?

Generic drugs must adhere to the same rules as brand names, but they are slightly more relaxed. Generic drugs are able to be sold by several companies unlike brand name drugs.

This outcome means a higher level of competition. This is bad news for the company, but good for the consumer. The various companies battle one another and attempt to market their generic product for a lower fee.

While testing is also required to meet safety rules, the type of testing done is different. The amount of time spent on testing is also different. This makes the conducting trial shorter and less expensive than brand name drugs.

These factors make it possible for generic drugs to be sold 70-85% less than the brand name. The savings generic drugs offer is incredible. For every 10 prescriptions dispensed, 9 are generic drugs.

Quality Results at a Fair Price With Generic Drugs

Comparing brand name vs generic drugs is something we all do. We decide between the two anytime we need to fill a prescription. We do the same when we venture to the store in search of headache, nausea, or pain relief.

There is much to love about generic drugs just as much as there is to love about the brand name. When you look at it objectively, generic brands offer comparable results to its counterpart. The differences in effectiveness are only slight. When it comes down to it and you want something that works at a good price, generic drugs are the answer.

Brand names may be your only choice if you do not want to compromise quality and do not mind paying the price.

So which one is right for you? This choice is ultimately up to you.

Whatever you choose, there is help you get the drugs you need at a fraction of the price. Rather than overpay for brand names or generic drugs, contact us, and we can help.

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