Almost everyone has to buy medicines from time to time. Some customers don't pay much attention to the price, while for others, this is an essential issue. And most people try to find an optimal balance between price and quality. When looking for the necessary medicine and comparing prices, one may notice that medicines with the same active ingredients have different names or significant difference in prices. These are branded and generic medications. However, many pharmacy shoppers don’t even know that medicines are divided into these two groups and what the difference between them is.
A branded medication has a trade name given to it by a pharmaceutical company, which was first to develop this drug and start producing it. This company has a patent on this drug. The patent is valid for a certain period of time (for several years), and during this time no other company has the right to use the formula. But after its expiration some competitor may start producing a drug, which is in fact the same medication, with the same active ingredient, but which has other name and lacks a recognized logo and brand. Such medicine is called generic. However, it is worth noting that generic drugs don’t always appear after the branded ones, some of them have long history of existence.
Now let’s make it clear whether there’s any distinction between these two drug groups and what it is. First, the difference is in what people know about certain drugs and how they search for them in the pharmacies. Branded medicines are actively advertised and promoted, so people usually know the brand name of the drug and the effect that is expected of it, while they may not be aware of the chemical composition. On the contrary, generic medications are known by their active ingredients. In this case, even if the customer doesn’t know the brand name of the drug needed or forgets it, he may find its appropriate equivalent with the same effect by its generic name.
The brand name and the price these are the main differences between generic and branded medications. And there’s a reason behind different prices. The manufacturing expenses for production of branded drugs are much higher than that of generics. After discovering an effective formula, the company has to spend money on development and preclinical/clinical research that precede mass production of the drug. It also has to spend huge amounts of money on promotion, to let people know about the emergence of a new drug on the market. Besides, the branded medication usually has a more bright and expensive packaging. On the contrary, the companies producing generics may omit the stages of development and research. And they don’t pay for active advertising, which allows setting lower prices for their product.
Advantages of branded medications
If it is not about money, the matter of quality comes to the forefront. Those customers who don’t have to take certain medications for a long time, and those who can afford more expensive prices, often choose recognizable branded drugs. Sometimes such medicines may have higher quality compared with generics, as they were subject to clinical testing. Branded drugs have a certain number of loyal customers. The additional ingredients of a branded drug analogue may be more expensive and even more qualitative. On the other hand, the high cost of branded drugs makes it profitable to manufacture its fakes and sell them at lower prices.
Why choose generics
The main reason of generics’ popularity is quite simple – their cost. The significant part of the population always chooses cheaper medicines to buy. First of all, this applies to those people who have to receive treatment for several months or years and to take certain medications on a long-term basis. In this case, buying expensive drugs may cost a pretty penny, and some patients just can’t afford to pay such amount of money. And the opportunity to buy a cheaper analogue may save someone’s life. For such customers affordable price is crucial, and they don’t pay much attention to brand or attractive package.
Another advantage of generics for the customers is that the chances to run into a fake are lower. As for the quality, it is not necessarily worse than that of a branded analogue, and sometimes can be even better. Some generics have existed for many decades already, so their action is proven and predictable by millions of real people. They gained their reputation and customers’ trust long ago.
Given that the action of generics is usually the same, many consumers do not see any reason to pay more for the drugs with recognizable brand names.
Online availability of generics
Generic medications are available online, as well as in pharmacies. Today more and more customers prefer choosing and ordering medicines via Internet. It is convenient and gives an opportunity to compare prices on different websites. There also can be good discounts for those who order a lot and for regular customers. To get such discounts one needs to register at the website. You can find a generic equivalent of almost every branded drug, and the easiest way to do this is via Internet. It is possible, because analogues contain the same chemicals (active ingredients). For example, the famous Viagra contains the same active chemical, Sildenafil Citrate, as generics. Though Viagra is most known due to its trade name, and, of course, it costs more.