Friday, August 14, 2009

Get More Than You Pay For

You often hear that “you get what you pay for,” but when you pay extra for brand-name drugs, what you’re getting in return is nothing more than the brand-name. According to numerous studies and the FDA itself, the only difference between the brand-name drugs and the generic drugs is the price, and there is no evidence that spending money has a positive effect on your health.

The FDA has officially stated that generic drugs are, in all important aspects, the same thing as their brand-name counterparts. The differences are really only in the inactive ingredients, things like coloring and flavoring that have become part of the trademarked image of the brand company, and which the generic companies aren't allowed to copy. According to the FDA's website, "Generic drugs work in the same way and in the same amount of time as brand-name drugs."

Still, there is the relentless notion that the more expensive item must be better; after all, it costs more! Well, here’s where the price difference comes from:

A Brand-name company spends tons of time and money on research and development of a new drug, which they patent. Drug patents currently last for 20 years.

Once the Brand-name company demonstrates that their drug is up to standards, they get permission from the FDA to manufacture their drug for the public. They will have the exclusive right of production for as long as their patent lasts.

The Brand-name company then shells out tons more money to market the drug to consumers,

as well as to doctors and hospitals.

The Brand-name company sells the drug at a relatively high cost to so they can pay for all the research and marketing and still try to make a profit.

When the patent expires, other drug manufacturers apply to the FDA to get permission to make the drug themselves. The FDA requires all the same standards from the generic manufacturers as they do from the original brand-name company. Generic drugs are required to be just as safe, strong, fast, and effective as the original drug.

Since the generic manufacturers didn't spend money on development and marketing, they can afford to sell their version of the drug for much less than the brand-name company. Competition among the generic manufacturers tends to drive the price down even more. For trademark reasons, the generic drug has a different look and a different name, but all the medicinal qualities are exactly the same.

In the end, the real difference in price exists because people are still willing to pay more for the brand-name drug. The brand-name companies can leverage their reputation to make it seem like their products are safer or more reliable. However, the FDA noted that half of all generic drugs are actually made by the brand-name companies.

The system is intended to allow the drug creators to compensate for the extraordinarily expensive process of development, but then allow for competition that will drive drug prices down. The generic label drugs are the result of a system that is meant to help the consumer. So let yourself be helped; next time you have the sniffles, go for NyCare or Sudacold. You'll get as much cough-suppressant and decongestant as you would from the more expensive versions, plus a bonus: saving money is a natural mood enhancer.

For more info:
FDA generic drug FAQ

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1 comment:

  1. nice, its an interesting process...*looking forward to my walgreens discounts :D