Difference Between Brand Name Drugs and Generic Drugs

There are both generic and brand-name options for medications requiring a doctor's prescription. One may tell that generic medications are just copies of brand-name drugs when comparing them.

What are Brand Name Drugs?

Brand name drugs are those that have been developed and patented by a single pharmaceutical firm. Because of their patent, no other drug manufacturers will be able to sell these brand-name medications. The drug's generic equivalent becomes available to the public when a specified time period has passed. When a pharmaceutical enters the public domain, other businesses are free to produce it. In this case, they are restricted from using the drug's brand name but are free to refer to it as the generic equivalent.

What are Generic Drugs?

Equal to their brand-name counterparts, generic medications have the same active ingredient. Generic medications are far less expensive than their brand-name counterparts despite having the same effects, dosage, side effects, and hazards.

When a new medicine is introduced, there is usually simply a brand name available. When the patent on a medicine expires, however, other manufacturers can begin marketing generic versions of the drug.

Brand-name drugs can't have an identical appearance to their generic counterparts. That leaves room for variation in physical characteristics, including size, form, color, and pattern. Because the therapeutic impact of a medicine is only from the active component, the generic version typically has different inactive substances than the brand name drug.

Prices of Brand Name Drugs and Generic Drugs

Generic medicine manufacturers save tons of money compared to brand-name drug producers since they don't have to foot the bill for research and development or advertising. Costs for generic versions of medications are generally 80-85% lower than those for their brand-name counterparts, as stated by the Food and Drug Administration.

Compare the prices of Allegra (180mg, 30 tablets) at $17.99 and generic Fexofenadine (180mg, 30 tablets) at $11.99 on Walgreens.com or the prices of Tylenol (Extra Strength, 100 tablets) at $9.49 and Acetaminophen (Extra Strength, 100 tablets) at $2.39.

Quality of Brand Name Drugs and Generic Drugs

Generic versions of medications must meet the same stringent safety and efficacy standards as their name-brand counterparts in order to meet FDA rules. Although the appearance of generic pharmaceuticals may change from that of their brand-name counterparts (for example, the pill may be a different color), their active components are the same and are of the same potency, stability, and purity as those of their more expensive counterparts.

In reality, bioequivalence testing must prove that generic medicine is just as safe and effective as the original brand name. Their effects, in terms of efficacy and safety, may be expected to be basically the same since their bioavailabilities (rate and extent of availability) are comparable following administration in the same molar dose. Equivalence in the pharmaceutical industry means that two medications are equivalent if they contain the same active ingredients, are administered in the same way, and are held to the same or comparable quality standards.

The generic equivalent must be identical to the brand name in every way, including dosage (tablet, patch, or liquid) and route of administration (oral, intramuscular, or subcutaneous injection).

Risks with Inactive Ingredients

Taking a generic medicine poses no more danger than taking a brand-name drug since they are both subject to the same level of scrutiny from the FDA. But in actuality, it is dependent on the procedures of the company making the generic medication.

Different generic manufacturers may utilize different inactive components, which might cause adverse reactions in some patients. Some medicines, for instance, may include artificial colors or tastes, which can trigger an allergy.

It is impossible to know for sure what inactive components are contained in a generic version of medicine since various pharmacies employ different generic suppliers, and in fact, the same pharmacy may use different suppliers for the same generic. Usually, this isn't a major problem. It's important to remember that even the inactive chemicals in a name-brand medicine have the risk of causing an adverse response. The distinction is that the inactive components in brand- name medications are guaranteed not to change.

Differences between Brand-Name Drugs and Generic Drugs

The following table compares and contrasts the different features of Brand-Name Drugs and Generic Drugs −


Brand-Name Drugs

Generic Drugs


The brand name drugs are those drugs that have been researched and formulated by a particular pharmaceutical company.

The generic drugs are a copy of the brand name drugs.


The pharmaceutical company will have the patent to the brand name drugs and cannot be sold by other companies.

The generic drugs are not patented, as they are just a copy of the original drugs.


Available first (before generics become available).

Only available after the patent runs out.


More expensive than generic drugs.

80-85% cheaper than brand- name drugs.


In this article, we highlighted how Brand Name Drugs are different from Generic Drugs.

Updated on: 20-Jan-2023


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