ARKANSAS, USA — Patients get prescriptions switched to generic brands at pharmacies all the time, but many are unsure about what differentiates them to their name-brand counterparts.
Are generic medications as good as name-brand ones?
- Collier Drug Store
- Pharmacist Matt Calhoun is the pharmacy manager at the Collier Drug Store on Dickson Street in Fayetteville.
WHAT WE FOUND
Pharmacist Matt Calhoun, pharmacy manager at a Collier Drug Store, tells 5NEWS that name-brand medications and generic ones contain the same active ingredient, which is the part of the medicine working inside your body. However, other inactive ingredients may differ between the two kinds of medications.
“Both the name-brand and generic are going to contain the same active ingredient, which is the actual part of the medicine that's working inside your body… though it may have some different inactive ingredients,” Calhoun explained. “So that's kind of the stuff that will bind the tablets together or give it color, things like that… but as far as effectiveness, they should work the exact same.”
So, why are there name-brand and generic versions of the same type of medications?
“For name-brands, companies will have a patent whenever they develop a medication, and it'll last for so many years, and they're the only ones allowed to make that medication ... but once that patent runs out, then any manufacturer is allowed to make the medication," said Calhoun.
When those generics do come out, they're usually much cheaper, which is why insurances choose them over the name-brand.
“It's a lower cost to the patients that fill here,” Calhoun said. “So, the majority of the time we dispense the generic, there are a couple of medications that are out right now that are name-brand only, because those companies developed it not too long ago, so they still have the patent on developing it.”
Why do people still choose name-brand over generic medications?
The pharmacist says he sees some customers still go for the name-brands for several reasons.
One of the reasons the pharmacist says people still go for the more expensive, name-brand option is the color of the pill.
“If you had a blue dye allergy or something like that, and the name brand is white, but the generics are a blue tablet, then people will stay on that just for the safety because our body can't tolerate those inactive ingredients,” Calhoun said.
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