Many Americans wonder why there are expensive and frankly cheap drugs on the same pharmacy shelf. The answer here is simple: there are originals and generics in origin. According to the recent statistics, up to 95% of drugs sold in Canada are generics. What does this mean? There are original drugs and there are analogues – called generics. They have the same active ingredient as the original, but they are much cheaper.
Why local drugstores hate offering generic drugs?
The most obvious reason is that generics are much cheaper and local Canadian drugstores will have no profit by selling something except branded meds.
The manufacturer of the original drug lays in the price of all its costs, including the cost of clinical trials, and it is always very expensive. A generic drug is produced when the patent of the original medication expires. In different countries, it lasts from 5 to 25 years, and at that time only the manufacturer who developed the medicine and patented title, has the right to produce it.
When the term ends, any other pharmaceutical company can do it – under a different name for sure. It did not spend on the drug’s development, so the generic is always cheaper. By the way, in order not to lose the benefits, in recent years, pharmaceutical manufacturers have become generic manufacturers of original drugs.
Of course, the existence of generics is very good, important and necessary. It is already expensive to get sick, and without generics, many would not be able to buy drugs at all. The WHO supports the production of generics because they provide access to medical care for all sectors of society? In addition, these drugs give the opportunity to choose, as well as create competition – they allow you to control the financial appetites of pharmaceutical companies that produce original drugs.
Generic can’t be called a drug’s replica. Despite the common active ingredient, the original and the generic may vary in a host of other attributes — for example, in excipients, in the degree of purification, in the way the drug is “delivered” to the body (for example, it can be a tablet or capsule, they act differently) and so on. Even the method of making a tablet can play a role: for example, a simple one will act differently than the one whose structure is layers.
As a result, drugs may vary, for example, in terms of effectiveness, side effects and many other features. So, to equate the original and the generic, as the consumer often does (for example, there are lists of expensive drugs and their cheap analogues on the Internet, and many mistakenly perceive them as a cheat sheet: what to replace than), is wrong.
Generics is a completely adequate replacement for the original drug. However, among the claims to generics is the fact that their effectiveness is not always properly investigated. There are side effects that can be assessed and described only after years of use. In the case of new generics allowed on the market, they are still unknown.
According to the current rules, a Canadian doctor must write a prescription for a medicine according to its international non-patented name, if both the original and generics are on the market. In this case, the patient can choose based on his budget – an expensive original or one of generics that can also vary in price. In the event that a particular generic does not work for a patient for some reason, the doctor may choose another one for him.
Are counterfeits common among generics?
If a physician prescribes the trademark drug, then the generic either does not exist or the patient doesn’t fit for some reason – for example, because of the possibility of side effects or contraindications. At the same time, a doctor should be able to explain to the patient why the specific drug is indicated in a prescription.
Let’s talk about counterfeits. You need to understand that the generic is different from an original medication. Drugs with an identical composition can have completely different effects, for example, due to a special drug coat. In addition, we cannot guarantee that the pharmacy you buy the original or generic drug of high quality, not counterfeit. The global pharmaceutical market is large and they import a wide variety of products. Sometimes it has nothing to do with a manufacturer.
Can generics save users of local drugstores?
Canadian pharmacy services advise to trust the doctor. You are an individual, and your case is an individual. Even if it seems to you that they prescribe the same thing all the time, there are still other factors: symptoms, time of administration, methods of administration, dosage. Self-treatment is also dangerous because in 2 weeks you will still come a physician and not understanding with what and how you were treated, are prescribing antibiotics for you.
As for pharmacists and their advice, treat them with a healthy skepticism. There are very competent pharmacists. But, you must understand that they are not doctors. For example, if you are a relatively healthy person, you can buy a multivitamin from Canadian pharmacy on your own or at the advice of a pharmacist. 13% of survey participants believe that generics are no different from expensive original drugs.