Brand Medicine vs. Generic Medicine

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You probably know that feeling: you are looking for some medication and your eye falls directly on a well-known brand, such as Viagra. But in your search you can see more different brands offered such as Sildenafil. You may never have heard of it but this is the generic for Viagra. What is the difference? When you buy medication at the pharmacy the same thing happens. A doctor writes a prescription for you, but the pharmacy sometimes delivers a medication with a different name. The pharmacist says this is a generic medicine and assures you that it contains the same active ingredient. Why does this happen? And is a generic really exactly the same as a brand medicine?

What is Generic?

New drugs have a patent meaning that the manufacturer has the sole right to produce and sell this product. But after a few years, the patent expires. As of then other manufacturers could copy the drug. They may use the same active ingredient, but cannot give the same name to the product. This creates a generic or unbranded medicine. For almost any medication, a generic will appear on the market.

It is a Matter of Money.

Brand medication is usually more expensive than its generic. Health insurances will typically reimburse only the cheaper generic product. Thus costs remain as low as possible. The pharmacy will show a preference for the medication that is reimbursed by the insurer, unless a doctor specifically indicates that a brand drug should be used. The pharmacist also has to inform you if he gives you a generic medicine.


Basically, generic drugs are the same as the brand medication. They are also used in the same dosage and form. Yet, effects may vary slightly due to the fact that formulation of a generic drug is never identical to that of the brand drug. The main components (active ingredients) are the same but there may be other excipients in the generic drug, such as peanut oil, soybean oil or wheat starch instead of corn starch. The body can sometimes react differently to other substances.

Switch to Generic Drugs?

Usually generics are ok. But some people need to be especially careful when they switch from a brand drug to a generic version. For example, patients who are allergic to a particular substance. They may be hypersensitive to a generic drug, while they have no problems with a brand drug. For patients with very accurate dosages, generic medicines can also cause problems. For example, people suffering from epilepsy should always be extra vigilant when they switch to another drug.

Report Side Effects.

Doctors and pharmacists always monitor the efficiency of both brand and generic drugs. Feedback from patients is very important. Therefore it is good to report any side effects. This allows you to contribute to the safety of medicines. Side effects can be mentioned to the pharmacy or to the doctor. Additionally, there are usually official websites on which you can report side effects.

Order generic medicine through one of the pharmacies working together with

You can also order generic medicine through one of the pharmacies working together with These are cheaper than brand drugs and are always produced by reliable, registered suppliers. Of course, you can also buy the brand medication if you feel those are more reliable. Should you have any questions about this topic, please feel free to contact our customer service.

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