Myths and Facts about Generic Drugs


MYTH: Generics take longer to act in the body.

FACT: The firm seeking to sell a generic drug must show that its drug delivers the same amount of active ingredient in the same timeframe as the original product.


MYTH: Generics are not as potent as brand-name drugs.

FACT: FDA requires genetics to have the same quality, strength, purity, and stability as brand-name drugs.


MYTH: Generics are not as safe as brand-name drugs.

FACT: FDA requires that all drugs be safe and effective and that their benefits outweigh their risks. Since generics use the same active ingredients and are shown to work the same way in the body, they have the same risk-benefit profile as their brand-name counterparts.


MYTH: Brand-name drugs are made in modern manufacturing facilities, and generics are often made in substandard facilities.

FACT: FDA won't permit drugs to be made in substandard facilities. FDA conducts about 3,500 inspections a year in all firms to ensure standards are met. Generic firms have facilities comparable to those of brand-name firms. In fact, brand-name firms account for an estimated 50 percent of generic drug production. They frequently make copies of their own or other brand-name drugs but sell them without the brand name.


MYTH: Generic drugs are likely to cause more side effects.

FACT: There is no evidence of this. FDA monitors reports of adverse drug reactions and has found no difference in the rates between generic and brand-name drugs.

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