How aware are we of Generic Medicines?

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Generic Medicines
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Have you ever wondered why we pay so much for medicines that are essential for our survival? Shouldn’t these lifesaving medicines be easily accessible and affordable to all? On the same lines, the Government of India rolled out a scheme that would benefit those who cannot afford expensive branded drugs. This scheme is known as Jan Aushadhi Scheme. The objective of this scheme is to sell drugs by their chemical name. These medicines are known as Generic medicines. Knowing  the difference between Generic medicines and branded medicines can help us to make informed choices. 

Here are a few questions regarding Generic Medicine that may occur in your mind:

Are Generic Medicine and Branded Medicine the same?

Branded medicines are innovative products discovered by a pharmaceutical company. For branded medicine a pharmaceutical  manufacturing unit has to make a new drug application that is submitted to the FDA for approval. The approval is regarding the dosage, safety, efficacy, labelling and packaging. 

A generic drug, according to the FDA, is a medication that is the same as a brand-name drug that is already on the market. Generic medicine is in the same dosage form, is safe, has the same strength, and is administered in the same manner as the branded medicine. FDA’s strict ‘Good manufacturing practices are followed to maintain a high standard of quality just like branded medicines. Generic medicines are nothing but the chemical name of the active ingredients used. They are also known as pure Generics. A generic medicine is the bioequivalent of branded medicine. 

Indian generic drugs export to Africa and other emerging markets, including the US, making it a global leader in this field. As of October 2, 2012, the Union Health Ministry and Medical Council of India issued a directive which mandated that generic drugs in India would not be sold under branded names but only by their generic names and that all doctors and physicians in Central Government and State Government-run hospitals would prescribe only generic medicines. However, the use of branded drugs still continues. 

What Is Bioequivalence?

Generic medicines are bioequivalent to their branded counterparts. To say that two or more medicines are bioequivalent is to say that their active ingredients are absorbed into the body at the same rate and to the same extent regardless of which medicine was taken.

When admitted to a hospital, do they give generic medicines or branded medicine?

According to a study, a large hospital’s acceptance of generic medicines is said to have several positive effects, such as an increase in the usage of generic drugs by pharmacies and a decrease in the cost of drugs overall. Nevertheless, every healthcare facility has its own strategy and selects for itself which medicines to prioritise. However, you can ask your physician for inclusion of generic medicines in your treatment.

Do Insurance companies cover generic medicines in their policy?

According to the findings of a study, the procedures that private insurance firms use for reimbursement could be subject to future modifications. The next thing that they will do to save costs for their customers is include coverage for generic medications to their insurance policy.

How do we identify generic medicine?

According to U.S. trademark law, generic drugs and brand-name medicines do not look alike. Generic medications and brand-name drugs both contain the same active components; however, the colour of the pill, its size, its form, and even its packaging may be different between the two types of medication. There is no particular method to differentiate between generic medicine and branded medicine based on how they seem in any particular way. In both the branded and the generic versions of the drug, the salt composition is exactly the same. Therefore, there is no difference in the effectiveness or safety of the two medications.

If you want to be able to purchase generic medicine, all you have to do is ask your general physician to write a prescription for you and indicate it on the prescription. Additionally, you are eligible for free consultations via a variety of apps or websites, which will save you both time, energy and money. When you inquire, your local pharmacist should also be able to offer you with the generic medicine that you may buy over the counter. There are numerous apps and websites that make it possible to purchase branded drugs and generic medicines online (for example, www.truemeds.in). You can do your shopping on it, and everything will be delivered to your doorstep across India. You can find these websites by searching the internet for “generic medicines online.”

References:

  • https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5642129/
  • https://www.fda.gov/drugs/frequently-asked-questions-popular-topics/generic-drugs-questions-answers#q1
  • https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20102127/
  • https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5853161/
  • https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3567597/
  • https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/industry/healthcare/biotech/healthcare/max-bupa-hospital-lobby-group-spar-over-generic-drug-prescription/articleshow/5863
  • Generic Drugs in India: More Awareness Required – India (mapsofindia.com)