Generic vs Brand Name Drugs: What are the differences?


The day you get sick, you visit the doctor and they prescribe some medicine. You take the prescription and visit the pharmacist. Some pharmacists may tell you that there is a generic version of the drug available.

Generic vs Brand Name Drugs and so many other questions come to your mind, what are the generic version and brand name drugs? What are the differences, similarities, benefits, and disadvantages? In this article, we will try to answer all of your questions. Keep reading. Let us first understand what brand-name drugs and generic drugs are.

What are Brand-name drugs?

The pharmaceutical company that manufactures the medicine originally or gets the patent to use their name for the medicine. Such medicines are known as “Brand name drugs” or “Innovator drugs”. FDA in the USA and similar other pharmaceutical regulating agencies approve these medicines. After approval, these companies get approval for exclusively marketing and selling the product as long as they have patent protection.

What are Generic drugs?

A generic drug is a pharmaceutical drug that is created to be the same as already marketed brand-name drugs. It contains the same chemical substance as a drug that the original manufacturer used. The company, which manufactures generic drugs, is allowed to market and sell the medicine only after the patent of the original company expires. FDA and similar authorities in each country also approve generic drugs.

Generic vs Brand Name Drugs:

Brand Name DrugsVsGeneric Drugs
No DifferencesACTIVE INGREDIENTNo Difference
Higher in CostPRICELower in Cost
Covered if no generic form existsINSURANCE COVERAGENormally always covered
Tested and approved by the FDAINACTIVE INGREDIENTSMay differ – but proven to be acceptable by the FDA
No differencesSTRENGTH/DOSAGESNo differences
Drugs are standard in size, color, packaging, etc.APPEARANCE/LOOKPackaging and the drug itself may look difference
Performed by the manufacturerRESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENTDo not perform. Just used the researched data.
Generic vs Brand Name Drugs

Some Important Facts: Generic Vs Brand Name Drugs

Generic vs Brand Name Drugs
Generic vs Brand Name Drugs
  • Both brand name and generic drugs have similar active ingredient(s), and the generic drugs must meet the standards of their original counterpart.
  • Other than containing the same active ingredient(s), the generic drugs must also have the same dosage form, effectiveness, quality, and safety.
  • However, generic drugs may differ in shape, color, size, preservatives, inactive ingredients, and packaging compared to their brand-name drugs.
  • In short, the generic drugs that you buy from any certified pharmacy may look different from the brand-name drugs; however, their pharmacological effects are the same.
  • To add to this, the biggest difference between brand names and generic prescription drugs is the cost. The manufacturers of generic drugs directly compete on the price, thus the consumers get these drugs at lower rates. The companies that manufacture generic drugs do not have the expense of research and development of a new chemical entity. On the other hand, brand-name drugs are expensive.
  • Given that generic drugs are cheaper, many people become concerned about their quality and effectiveness. There is no reason to worry as generic drugs have to meet the same high standards set by the FDA.
  • Many people also think that generic drugs take a longer time to work. However, as per the FDA standards, generic drugs are required to work as fast and as efficiently as their brand-name counterparts. Thus, one can take generic drugs without worrying about their quality or effectiveness.
  • One can also buy generic drugs online from certified pharmacies, which makes it easier for a person to buy generics online with just a few clicks.

Generic and Brand name drugs list

One can also buy generic drugs online from certified pharmacies, which makes it easier for a person to buy generics online with just a few clicks.

To the customer’s advantage, generic drugs cost around 40-60% less with the same strength, dosage, and quality compared to brand drugs. Nowadays, doctors and hospitals prescribe generic drugs more as compared to brand-name drugs.

Generic drugs make up more than 80% of prescriptions filled in the U.S. Thus, it is completely safe and also smart to choose generic drugs over brand-name drugs.

Some of the most common questions related to Generic vs Brand Name Drugs:

Are generic drugs less effective?

No, generic drugs are of the same quality as brand drugs and have the same effectiveness, dosages, safety, strength, and stability. It can be taken and used in the same way as brand-name drugs.

Why are generic drugs cheaper?

As per the research, generic drugs are 80-85% cheaper than brand-name drugs. The main reason is the expense that the original manufacturer company has spent on the research and development of medicine. To cover this expense they get the patent from FDA and recover the expense by adding a higher price of the medicines.

Are generic drugs safe?

Yes, generic drugs are as safe as brand drugs. These drugs are also manufactured by pharmaceutical companies approved by FDA and other approved agencies. They went through a rigorous review process before they were approved.