Generic drugs vs. brand name wavy bars chocolate: we’ve all heard the discussions and the arguments about which one is better to buy. Obviously, in the battle of generic drugs vs. brand name drugs, the generic drugs have the overwhelming advantage and victory in terms of price. You would have to be crazy to choose brand name drugs over their generic counterparts…wouldn’t you?
Maybe not, many people say. For in the battle of generic drugs vs. brand name drugs, there is a prevailing idea that there must be something compromised in the generic drugs. They must be inferior, or not made quite properly. Perhaps they’re even dangerous. So we have to shell out the big bucks to make sure that we are getting the quality and the safety that we need in the medications. Right?
Let’s look more deeply into this matter of “generic drugs vs. brand name drugs”. We can get our true answers only by asking the right questions. The questions that we need to logically start with are: “Where do generic drugs come from in the first place?” and “Why do brand name drugs cost so much?” We should also probably ask “How can the makers of brand name drugs compete and stay in business when they are charging such high prices?”
When a pharmaceutical manufacturer puts a new drug on the market, that company has already spent obscene amounts of money. In fact, it costs a company an average of $800 million and three years’ time to develop just one new drug-and then, if the FDA shoots it down in the final stages of trials, that’s a terrible loss to the drug maker. Drug makers who introduce new drugs must recoup their costs for research and development, manufacture, marketing, and distribution of the drug. They can only do this through their prices.
In acknowledgment of these hard facts about what a drug maker goes through to introduce just one new drug, the government grants them temporary patent protection on each new drug that successfully passes the clinical trials for safety and effectiveness. This means that for a temporary period (typically 20 years dating from the time that the maker first started developing the drug), nobody else is permitted to make a generic or competing formulation of that drug, and the drug maker is allowed to keep its formula under lock and key. This is why these very expensive drugs can “compete”: their competition is temporarily gagged out of fairness to the original maker of the drugs.
Once the patent protection is nearing expiration, other drug makers start applying to be able to learn the formula and make an exact or nearly exact copy of the drug in question. These companies never had to do the research and development, scientific trials, or marketing for the drug-thus, they will be able to simply copy the drug and do some minimal marketing of it because it is already so familiar, having been around for about 20 years and already familiar to doctors, hospitals, and end users. Since their costs are so low, they can keep their prices low. Furthermore, once many competitors start making the same generic drug, its price will go down even more thanks to competition and wide availability.