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Is Generic Medicine Really the Same?

Is generic medicine the same?

Let’s be honest, many of us are label-conscious when we do our shopping. This applies to everything from clothing and accessories right down to food and medicine. After all, the mindset that a higher price equals higher quality is hard to shake—and who wants to gamble with quality when it comes to over-the-counter medicines and pain relievers? Can you afford to be frugal when it comes to relieving a pounding headache or alleviating cough and flu symptoms? The answer is yes.

A brand name drug and a generic drug are chemically the same—in fact, while they may have different names, colors, and shapes, they are required by law to be comprised of the same ingredients. Both brand name and generic medicines are exactly the same right down to the dosage, side effects, strength, safety, and risks. In fact, the only different you’ll ever experience is the price tag.

So if they aren’t skimping on ingredients, you might be wondering why generic drugs are so much less expensive. While there is a common belief that it’s because generic drugs are made in sub-par facilities, this is false. The FDA applies the same standards for all drug manufactures, regardless of their brand name—or lack thereof.

The truth is actually quite simple: Generic drugs are less expensive because it takes less money to make them. This is because they don’t have the expense of developing and marketing any given drug. When a new drug comes on the market, it takes a substantial amount of money to do the research, develop the drug, purchase the patent, and promote it. When a patent nears its expiration, drug manufacturers can apply for permission to make generic versions—minus the hefty startup costs.

In short, all pain relievers really are made equal, which is great news for your wallet. So next time you feel a scratchy throat, you can buy the generic version with confidence—and save the leftovers for some much needed ice cream.

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