Generic vs. Patented Medicines–Why You Need to Be Wary
The rising costs of medicines are making them inaccessible to the common person. To counter this problem, the Government of India is making plans so that more of generic medicines are made available to the people. Beginning in October 2010, many generic medicines are being offered free of cost at public hospitals and health centres. India is the one of the leading manufacturers of the worlds generic medicines and almost 20% of the drugs produced all over the world are sourced in India. However, before choosing to take generic medicines there are some very important facts that you must keep in mind.
Generic and Patented Medicines Explained
Generic medicines have the same chemical composition, and same effects on the human body. Patented drugs are those that are produced by the original developer of the medicines and are typically more expensive than generic drugs. These companies patent the medicine when it is approved by the government, and this patent lasts for a specific number of years. As a result, the company holds the complete rights to the production of the medicine for that patent period. Generic drug producers are allowed to manufacture the medicine only after expiry of patent.
Types of Generic Medicines vis-a-vis Patented and Branded Medicines
Generic medicines are of three kinds:
? Pure generics or those medicines that are also sold under the same name as that given by its original manufacturer.
? Branded generics or those medicines that are sold under a new name given by the generic manufacturer.
? Authorized generics or those medicines that are supplied by the original producer to the generic company or to their generic subsidiary. The generic companies pay royalties to the original manufacturer for the sale of the medicines.
Precautions While Choosing Generic Medicines
Any medicine that is produced by pharmaceutical companies aside from the original inventor is called generic medicine. Any MNC as well as lesser-known, regional companies can also produce the same medicine. However, there are several reasons why the use of generic drugs has not become more common. Both medical practitioners and consumers are not always convinced that the generic drugs are safe to use, especially manufactured by small, lesser known companies.
Factors that reduce the effectiveness of generic medicines are:
· There may be compromise with quality standards in manufacturing a product.
· The un-branded medicines might not be packaged properly, leading to deterioration in quality.
· The non-branded medicines might not be stored properly and under the appropriate conditions prior to distribution. This can again lead to the medicine not being effective by the time it reaches the consumer.
· Many medicines need careful transportation, transportation under controlled temperatures like in the case of insulin. Small companies might not be able to make the necessary arrangements leading to the medicines becoming ineffective and sometimes even harmful.
Conditions in Which You Need to be More Careful while buying Generic Drugs
Generic drugs do achieve more or less the same blood concentrations as branded drugs. In other words, they dissolve in the blood quite similarly. However, the tiny margin of variance can have negative effects in certain conditions. Hence, it is important that patients opt for only for highly reputed company drugs or high quality generic drugs. Some categories, where you need to be more careful while choosing a generic drug are:
? Mood stabilizers like lithium
? Blood thinners like warfarin
? Thyroid hormones
? Medicines for heart arrhythmias
? Medicines for seizures
? Medicines for epilepsy
So, next time you buy generic medicine, make sure that it is coming from a reputed company, known for its quality standards in end to end process starting from manufacturing to delivery at customer end.