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Everything you need to know about Generic Medications

What is a generic?
Are they just as effective?
Are they just as safe?
They're cheaper, so can’t be as good right?

Ever asked any of the above questions? If so, this article is for you!

Let's start with the basics:

Generics are clinically approved copies of brand-name drugs. They have the same active ingredients and quantity of ingredients as the original version. They are therefore equal substitutes, and are known as "bio-equivalent" for possessing the same usage, dosage and effects on your body.

Generics are made when a patent for a medicine expires, allowing other pharmaceutical companies to produce their own version using the same recipe. Generic drugs are easily approved by authorities because the original drug has already been through stringent testing and reviews.

Why should you choose a generic?

Cost 💸

According to the FDA, generics are around 80-85% less expensive than their brand-name equivalents. (1) They are cheaper to produce because pharmaceutical companies do not need to spend time and money researching, developing or marketing the drug, as its formula has already been discovered and determined. They therefore provide a cost-effective and more affordable version of the medicine you need.

They're safe 👍

Generics are produced by the same pharmaceutical companies that produce other leading medicines. Manufacturing plants are inspected to the same stringent regulations and safety issues as those that produce well known brands. Additionally with the same ingredients and amount of ingredients, you can be guaranteed they provide the same clinical benefit as its brand-name version. In regards to birth control for example, there has been no clinical evidence to suggest that generic contraceptive pills are any less effective than their brand equivalents.

You've probably already had one! ✅

Around 70% of dispensed prescriptions are generics. (2) Chances are, if you’ve ever had to take medicine, you’ve already taken a generic drug. For example, ibuprofen tablets are generic of the brand Advil. So nothing to be afraid of!

They're more likely to be covered by your medical aid 🧾

You may find that your brand-name birth control is not covered by your insurance policy. If this is the case, generic versions can provide a means to access your contraception while still being covered by your medical aid. Other insurance plans may have a drug pricing system, which means they may only cover the lower-tier priced medicines such as the cheaper generics.

They're more environmentally friendly 🌍

Brand-name contraceptive pills are often packaged and delivered to pharmacies in hard cases, before then being repacked in cardboard boxes for patients. Hard cases are difficult to recycle, increasing waste in our ecosystem. On the other hand, generic drugs tend to come in paper packaging, which can be recycled and reused.

Generic drugs can differ in packaging, shape or colour, but don’t be put off! They provide a cheaper alternative to brand-names for those starting the contraceptive pill, or a means to switch with a more affordable version of your current medicine to make your wallet happy. If you’re new to Contro, you can request a generic birth control during your initial health questionnaire. If you’ve already got a prescription for a brand-name contraceptive pill on a Contro subscription, your assigned Partner Doctor can help you make the switch.

Updated on: 17/04/2024

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