Medications or medicines are among the most important products that people buy. Medicines or drugs are what helps the human body get back to normal after it experiences sickness. Drugs have been saving millions, or even billions, of lives each year and it has been an integral part of the daily lives of most people for hundreds of years already. There are 2 kinds of medications which are available to the public, the branded and generic medications. So what is the difference between the two and how can we distinguish one from the other?
In simple definition, branded medications or drugs are the ones that have been developed by pharmaceutical companies. The label of the product usually carries the name of the manufacturer. The company that has developed the product is given the exclusive rights by governing bodies in the field of medicine to sell that particular drug. The exclusive rights given are called a “patent”. Patents are created to make sure that the company, establishment, or the individual that was responsible for the research and development of that drug will regain everything that was invested. After the patent expires, other companies or manufacturers are free to sell the same drug. This is now what is called the generic medication. Generic medications does not carry a “brand” name but it only goes by the name of the main active component of the drug.
There has always been a debate on which type of medication is better to buy. In theory, both should be of the same quality. Generic medications are screened by different governing bodies to make sure that they have the same component and effect to the human body as that of the branded medications. However, there are some people or institutions that have been claiming that the branded medications would always be better since they are considered as “original” and that they are manufactured using better equipments, it has undergone better processes, and it has better ingredients. This claim gives an advantage to branded medications. On the other hand, there is also an advantage when buying generic medications. In most cases, they are cheaper as compared to branded medications so they are also popular to those who want to save money.
Both kinds of medications could be available at different pharmacies and both could be prescribed by doctors too. For prescription drugs, branded medications have another advantage. When a doctor indicates the brand on the prescription, pharmacists are not allowed to give generic drugs and must follow what is written. But that is not the case the other way around. When the generic name is indicated in the prescription, pharmacists are allowed to give both kinds. This is because of some inactive components found in the medication. The main active ingredient may be the same for both but the inactive components are not.
In cases that you are in doubt what to choose between the two, it would be best to consult a doctor first before making a purchase. Generic and branded medications should be easy to differentiate through their labels but their effect on the human body may vary in some ways.