What are some differences between branded and generic pharmaceutical drugs?

Mudassir Ali
Feb 20, 2020 05:11 AM 0 Answers
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Mudassir Ali
- Feb 20, 2020 05:11 AM

There isn’t a simple answer to that question because to some extent there is a different story behind each drug. The simplest difference is that the production of branded drugs is usually governed by one or more patents. These prevent unlicensed manufacture in any country that is part of the international patent system.

Generic drugs are manufactured using materials and methods that are not controlled by patents, or are manufactured in countries that don’t enforce the applicable patents.

What difference this makes to the formulation that the patients are given varies a lot. In general profit margins on generic drugs are lower than those on branded drugs. This encourages the manufacturer to spend less on manufacturing them, possibly by using cheaper ingredients. What impact that has is different not only for every drug but also for every manufacturer. In a few cases the performance of a generic drug may be much poorer than of the branded equivalent. There is no way of knowing without seeing the manufacturers’ data.

In one test I carried out on branded and generic drugs containing the same active ingredient there was a wide spread in stability. The best formulation was still safe and effective after four years. The poorest failed our tests less than three months after manufacture. (The situation has improved and regulation is much stricter than it was then.)

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