Friday, May 28, 2010

Are Generic Pills Harder to Swallow?

By Ashley M. Jones

“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose, by any other name, would smell just as sweet” – It’s a good thing William Shakespeare lived much before the drug companies were around or he could never have come up with such an amazing statement. Today, there are drugs, and then there are drugs; and more than what’s inside or its efficacy, it’s the name that seems to matter. If you were asked to choose between a branded drug and its generic equivalent, given that their costs were almost the same, you would most probably go for the branded version. So why are generic pills harder to swallow than their branded counterparts?

Although generic medicines are much cheaper than branded drugs (they are priced lower because they can be manufactured only after the patent runs its course and so do not include the R&D costs that the big pharmaceutical companies incur when they manufacture new drugs), at an equal price, people prefer to buy the latter for various reasons.

For one, they may not want to call their doctor to verify that the generic equivalents are safe and the bioequivalent of the branded drug - the most important aspect to consider when you’re buying generic equivalents is to ensure that they are the bioequivalent of the branded drug you’ve been prescribed. Even if you know the active pharmacological ingredient in a drug, you may not be sure if the generic equivalent with the same active ingredient can be used as a reliable and safe substitute. For example, there are certain medicines that should not be substituted, like for example drugs that have the same active pharmacological ingredient but which are modified release and intermediate release pills respectively. These are different dosage forms, and hence not bioequivalent.

Also, some people may feel that generic drugs are not of the same quality as their branded equivalent. It’s not true of course, but perception is everything when it comes to drugs and medication. That’s why we find that even placebos work sometimes, because there are some diseases and illnesses that are cured by the power of the mind. So if you believe that a drug is inferior, your mind is going to block your recovery even though the drug is really efficient.

The key to choosing the best generic drugs is to go with those that your doctor prescribes or recommends. If you’re sure of the quality, generic pills become much easier to both swallow and digest.

This article is contributed by Ashley M. Jones, who regularly writes on the subject of Online Pharmacy Technician Certification. She invites your questions, comments at her email address:

RMC Pharmaceutical Solutions welcomes guest posts related to pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, medical devices and other related topics.

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