Generic vs. Brand-Name Drugs
What exactly is a generic drug? Generic drugs are copies of brand-name drugs. They have exactly the same dosage, uses, effects, side-effects, risks, safety, and strength as the original drug. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires that generic drugs be as safe and effective as brand-name drugs.
Once a brand-name drug is approved by the FDA, a patent is granted that gives the company that developed the drug the exclusive right to sell the drug as long as the patent is in effect. When that patent expires, manufacturers of generic drugs will get their products on the market as quickly as possible. The main reason generics are less expensive is because the generic drug manufacturers have not had the expenses of developing and marketing a new drug.
Sometimes, generic versions of a drug have different colors, flavors, or combinations of inactive ingredients than the original medications. Trademark laws in the United States do not allow the generic drugs to look exactly like the brand-name version, but the active ingredients must be the same in both preparations, ensuring that both have the same medicinal effects.
For our purposes, in the eyes of the law, it doesn’t matter whether you used a name-brand or generic prescription drug, the manufacturer can still be held responsible in the case of injury or death for patients taking their medications.