Pharmaceutical companies invent medicines and procure a patent that recognises their sole right to market them. When the patent expires, other pharmaceutical companies can make copies of the original medications and sell them, but under a different name. In these copies, the chemical composition of the medicine, the strength, duration of the effect, how it works inside the body- all the features remain more or less the same. This is called generic medicine.
Generic medicines utilize the same technology, are produced in similar facilities, and meet the same manufacturing standards as brand name drugs.
Many people wonder if generic drugs are as safe as the original. The answer is yes. The Central Drug Standard Control Organization puts these generic drugs through rigorous tests and only then are they released into the market.
Generic medicine is less expensive
Brand name medicines are expensive because their innovator invests substantial sums of money on research, trials to test if they are safe and efficient, branding, license, promotion, and marketing. The companies that produce generic drugs do not have to fork out a fortune in inventing a new drug. Their costs are limited to only production, advertisement, and distribution. That is why their medicines are cheaper than brand name medicines.
Generic medicines look different
This is an interesting feature of generic medicines. Though they resemble brand name drugs in chemical composition, trademark laws still require them to look individualistic. That is why drug companies use different shapes, colours and flavours to differentiate their product from the brand name drug.
Not all brand name drugs have generic medicines
The term of a drug patent in India is 20 years. So, if a pharmaceutical company created a medicine today and patented it, other companies will not be able to manufacture it for the next 20 years. That is why certain medicines don’t have generic counterparts yet.
What is a branded generic drug?
A branded generic drug is a medicine that is marketed under the banner of a reputed name or sometimes by the original innovator itself after the patent tenure runs out.
However, branded generic drugs are not as inexpensive as normal generic drugs.
There is still a lot of fogginess around the concept of generic medicines. To put it simply, they are effective duplicates of a branded drug.