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What’s the Difference?

Monday, 16 July 2007

A generic drug is identical, or bioequivalent to a brand name drug in dosage form, safety, strength, route of administration, quality, performance characteristics and intended use. Although generic drugs are chemically identical to their branded counterparts, they are typically sold at substantial discounts from the branded price. According to the Congressional Budget Office, generic drugs save consumers an estimated $8 to $10 billion a year at retail pharmacies. Even more billions are saved when hospitals use generics.

~ according to the USFDA’s Office of Generic Drugs.

I am certainly not qualified to support or dispute these statements. What I can determine is that the packaging is quite different. Take the antibiotic I was prescribed for the bronchitis; azithromycin. With a Z-pac, as the brand name Zithromax is fondly known, one must only pop the pills through the foil backing. The generic form, unfortunately, is not so easy. It has an impossibly difficult sticky backing that must be removed prior to popping the pill through the foil.

A fair exchange given the incredible difference in price between name-brand and generic? Perhaps. Though in the heat of the moment (a severely sore throat, throbbing ears and sinuses, and a rattling cough), it was an unwelcome exchange.

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