Is branded or generic medication better?

Is it worth buying branded medicine?

generic medicine

More often than not, when filing a prescription, you’ll be asked if you’d prefer the branded medicine or the generic option. But besides price, are you actually aware of the differences between these two alternatives?

A generic drug is a copy of a branded medication, with the exact same dosage of active ingredients. Its strength, intended use, side effects, risks and the way it is taken are also identical. Generics can only be sold if the manufacturer has proven that its product produces the same drug concentration in the blood as the original medication. This means that generic medications are just as effective as the branded equivalent.

Generics can only be produced when the patent for that specific drug has expired. Because the active ingredients in generic drugs have to be exactly the same, most people won’t notice a difference between branded medication and generic versions.

The main differences between branded and generic drugs are the cost and the inactive ingredients. Generics usually cost less than branded medications, so for pensioners, this makes them a better option. Companies that manufacture generic medications do not have to pay the enormous costs associated with researching, developing and advertising the drug, so they can afford to offer consumers a lower price. The other factor affecting the cost of prescription medications is the level of demand. Not all branded drugs have a generic alternative and, in some cases, where only one generic exists, it may actually be priced higher the original brand drug.

The second major difference between generic and branded options is the inactive ingredients in the medication. Inactive ingredients are those that are not involved in the therapeutic action of the drug, such as binding components or coatings. Manufacturers of generic drugs are not required to use the same inactive ingredients as the branded version, so this is where variations occur. For most of us, this shouldn’t be a problem. However, if you have allergies, you may want to check exactly what the generic medication contains before opting for the cheaper alternative.

There are other situations when you should probably choose the branded medication. Some medications have a much smaller margin between the therapeutic drug concentration in the blood and an ineffective or potentially dangerous level. You should speak to your GP before considering swapping to generic medications for seizures, thyroid hormones, blood thinning (warfarin) and lithium.

Generally speaking, generic medications are appealing because of their lower price point and the fact that they’re just as effective as the branded drug. But there are some instances in which it may be safer to stick to the branded option – if the generic version is not actually cheaper, if you’re allergic to any of the inactive ingredients in the generic, or if it’s a ‘trickier’ medication (such as those mentioned above). It is important to always check with your pharmacist about whether the branded option might be safer for you.

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    COMMENTS

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    maelcolium
    27th Jul 2017
    10:57am
    People need to be careful when buying generic. The inactive ingredients include the delivery method such as the enteric coating for prolonged release or other actions. So while the base drug may be the same, the effect may vary for different people. Omaprozole is a good example where Losec has a particular coating for those people susceptible to gastric upset. I tried another brand and found myself in gastric distress requiring a hospital visit. Before changing any medication, including brands, always check with your GP or specialist as the chemist with real knowledge is busy dispensing medicines, so the person who asks you the dreaded generic question may well be an uneducated shop assisistant - no offence intended.
    Old Geezer
    27th Jul 2017
    2:39pm
    I often wonder how much of these reactions are just mind over matter.
    AutumnOz
    27th Jul 2017
    4:33pm
    maelcolium is right people do need to be very careful of what they take into their bodies without checking that it will not harm them. Generics do a lot of harm to some people.

    OG - if I am ever stupid enough to try another generic medicine and have the same reactions I did to the first I'll ask the paramedics if they ever wonder if allergic reactions are all in a persons mind.
    GeorgeM
    27th Jul 2017
    10:58pm
    Absolutely right, maelcolium. No one in their right mind should automatically trust substitutes, i.e. generic.
    I know where you are coming from OG, it is Liberal party policy to make people take generics - never mind the patient's health.
    Daveh
    27th Jul 2017
    11:00am
    If generics are just as effective then why cann't I find where the efficacy results have been published and why won't anyone GUARATEE the efficacy is the same as the brand name who did the original research.

    Separately I disagree they are the same. The inactive ingredients ARE important and so is the compounding method. As you know for example studies about 20 years ago have shown with respect to blood pressure meds that a change of brand can affect a person.
    Kathleen
    27th Jul 2017
    11:15am
    No, they are not the same. We are being duped all in the name of the government saving money. I have to pay more for some of my medicines in order to have the original. I tried the substitutes and became unwell.
    Unfortunately, the chemist does not always know exactly how they are preparing the medicines as ours said they were the same and could not tell us anything about the preparation and coating.
    I just have to pay the extra and work that into our budget unfortunately. Priorities again!
    Rosret
    27th Jul 2017
    12:06pm
    - and order of preparation. When to add the lemon, how long to cook the cake, whether the oven door was opened at the wrong time etc.
    Its a science and its not the same - I agree.
    Old Geezer
    27th Jul 2017
    2:42pm
    Bananas taste different too but they are all bananas.

    If the active ingredient is the same then they must be the same but one is a lot cheaper.
    AutumnOz
    27th Jul 2017
    4:38pm
    GrandmaKathleen I also pay extra for my medications, it is far safer to do so and well worth the extra budgeting to pay the difference.

    I don't understand why our Federal Government give Old Age Pensioners a Pensioner concession Card then tell them they have to accept generic medications if they wish to use the card - it is unethical and could lead to the death of some people which would make it a criminal offense.
    GeorgeM
    28th Jul 2017
    8:28pm
    GK22, you are right, the generics are not same as the original. The article says so "Manufacturers of generic drugs are not required to use the same inactive ingredients as the branded version, so this is where variations occur." Wonder why they allowed anything to be different and created issues for many unsuspecting patients?

    The bottom line is - the original product went through the full rigour of testing, but the generics are getting away with substitutes which have clearly not been proven by testing thoroughly to be the same.
    Maggie
    27th Jul 2017
    11:18am
    The writer contradicts herself.
    Statement 1:

    A generic drug is a copy of a branded medication, with the exact same dosage of active ingredients. Its strength, intended use, side effects, risks and the way it is taken are also identical. Generics can only be sold if the manufacturer has proven that its product produces the same drug concentration in the blood as the original medication. This means that generic medications are just as effective as the branded equivalent.

    Statement 2:
    There are other situations when you should probably choose the branded medication. Some medications have a much smaller margin between the therapeutic drug concentration in the blood and an ineffective or potentially dangerous level.

    I find this sort of thing totally unhelpful
    *Loloften*
    28th Jul 2017
    11:22pm
    So right Maggie....have a GP in my family & he showed me an article in a renown "Drs only" magazine which clearly stated that there can be a variant up to 20% of ALL ingredients in generic medications.
    Jurassicgeek
    27th Jul 2017
    11:23am
    Sure the active ingredients may be the same but the fillers and coatings can have an effect on you as well.. They slapped a $3 surcharge on 1 of my meds because there is now a generic available..so ..Ok ..I will try it.. after about 3 days I got this metallic taste and in my mouth and no food tasted "right" ... I saw the doc again and was told also the fillers can make a difference.... Dont believe all the shit doctors tell you ..generics ARE different and they DO cause problems ..beware what you buy...
    Rosret
    27th Jul 2017
    11:26am
    1. "...So for pensioners, this makes them a better option."
    2. "Generally speaking, generic medications are appealing because of their lower price point and the fact that they’re just as effective as the branded drug."

    1.What a lot of ..... to try and sell an inferior product to the Australian population. Pensioners have subsided medications and forcing them on to generics will make the premium brand name even more expensive for the rest of us and make pensioners second rate citizens with second rate care.
    Generally speaking ... most people want the brand name because they:
    ~Have a loyalty to the company that researched and developed the product
    ~Prefer the protective coating /taste of the name brand product
    ~Have experimented and found the name brand to be a far superior product
    ~Like the fact the product is colour coded
    ~Most importantly the brand name declares ownership of its product and standard and will accept liability for damages should the product fail.

    Price has absolutely nothing to do with the reason why I buy a product. Its all about quality and effectiveness. Even my grandchild can discern the difference between asthma inhalers and will refuse the generic brand sick or not.
    PlanB
    29th Jul 2017
    9:26am
    But we are continually being told NO CHANGE TO MEDICARE -- what a load utter BS -- they are taking bits away bit by bit --
    David
    27th Jul 2017
    12:32pm
    I always get generic medication for myself and my family whenever there is an option. Our family has never had any health issues from taking them. I have saved thousands of dollars over the years by doing this. That’s a lot of extra money to spend in my retirement.
    Rosret
    27th Jul 2017
    1:07pm
    If you have spent thousands of dollars on generics then one could easily argue that they are not working at all!
    David
    27th Jul 2017
    3:20pm
    You didn't read my comment that well Rosret.
    I never said I have spent thousands of dollars on generics. If you read my comments again you will find that I said I have SAVED thousands of dollars...a big difference!
    Also the thousands of dollars that I saved were not just on me. I said that these savings were on my family as well....again a big difference!
    I'm fit and healthy, I can still hike with a 25 kg backpack for 2-8 days at a time, I play competitive squash twice a week and I cycle 50-80 km a couple of times a week. So for you to say that you can easily argue that the generics are not working at all on me is baseless and unfounded!
    AutumnOz
    27th Jul 2017
    4:41pm
    David you are fortunate you and your family are able to use generics, unfortunately many other people have difficulties with taking them. It is a pity because they certainly save money but it is not worth the pain and discomfort suffered to save that money.
    Hawkeye
    27th Jul 2017
    11:31pm
    David, so I assume that would be a generic lobster you are drooling over.

    We reach the PBS Safety Net Limit every year, after which the medications cost bugger-all. So the total cost of medications is always about the same per year, whether we us generics or not.

    I need a warm drink to enable me to swallow my tablets. With 4 of my medications, I find the warm fluid dissolves the generic tablets before I can swallow them, leaving a horrible bitter aftertaste in my mouth for half the day.

    So why would I use generics when there is the dissolving problem combined with no total cost benefit?
    David
    28th Jul 2017
    11:47am
    Haha Hawkeye. Yes, it's a generic lobster. I asked for a branded one, but Larry the lobster was going to cost too much! ;-)
    I don't come anywhere near reaching the PBS safety net limit, unfortunately I don't qualify for the health care card and I can swallow tablets easily, so for me, it is a big saving in choosing generic medication. Luckily there's no side effects in my family using generic medications. But for you, I understand the reasons why you use branded medication.
    Regards
    casey
    27th Jul 2017
    12:44pm
    I always refuse the generic when they ask. With the health care card they are the same price or so little between them in cost, it just not worth it.
    Cleo
    28th Jul 2017
    2:32pm
    Many chemists do not even ask, so I always tell them up front.
    Roller53
    27th Jul 2017
    12:48pm
    I always okay with the substitution of generic medicines for twenty years until a certain generic anti depression tablet changed its shape from oval to round. Guess what, they no longer worked. I was prescribed a certain anti gout medication for which I accepted a substitute and again it did not work. In both cases I switched to the original manufacturers product with good results.

    This is getting dangerous as my forty days on the generic anti depressants caused me to start making poor decisions and even had me "plotting" the demise of some poor innocent fool on the radio. I doubt the "carrier" difference would cause this.

    Then again, if I go off the rails and get sent to prison, I become a state government problem then instead of the federal governments. Maybe it's a way of shifting costs.
    Rosret
    27th Jul 2017
    1:10pm
    I understand the psychiatric medicines are the ones flagged as the most ineffective generics. The Psychs know it but how do you get the message out to the GPs and Chemists who change the script without the patient knowing.
    bobbalinda
    27th Jul 2017
    12:51pm
    The few times I have tried generic brands have found my original scripts worked better no idea why but now just stick with the ones my doctor prescribes and my local chemist knows not to change to generic.
    Rosret
    27th Jul 2017
    1:12pm
    You will have to ask the doctor for the name brand now as the government has changed their software to recommend the generic brand as the default.
    kevinc
    27th Jul 2017
    12:53pm
    Hi , all true what you say about generic medicine, however thats only half the story.

    Chemist should pass on the full discount when they offer a generic, think about it, they offer the generic because they make a higher profit margin, if everyone was serious they should be made to offer the full discount.
    Miranda
    27th Jul 2017
    1:41pm
    I used to take a generic form of Lipitor (for high cholesterol) and never had a problem for years and suddenly I started to get an itchy skin. Looking at the packaging, I noticed that the medication I usually took was made in Italy, whereas the more recent version which gave me the rash was manufactured in India by a different company. I took the remaining pills back to the pharmacist who was happy to give me the original ones I had taken, made in Italy, without any problem.
    robin hood
    27th Jul 2017
    2:08pm
    The first time i became aware of this was when a patient could not take any other brand of Panadeine Fort..because she was allergic to the binding they use in other brands..that is what you have to be careful of
    Not Amused
    27th Jul 2017
    2:13pm
    There can be noticeable differences between generic and original brand drugs. I am intolerant of a particular (seemingly innocuous to all else) binding agent commonly found in most tablets. Ingestion of a generic brand tablet containing this particular binding agent longer than 3 days will cause liver enlargement. If people have successfully used original brands they should be very, very careful about changing to generic just for saving a few dollars. If patients do have strange side-effects they can compare the non-active generic ingredients with the original brand previously used and they may be better of reverting to the original brand. An example is Immigran that my sister relied on for years. The generic brand proved totally ineffective.
    Old Geezer
    27th Jul 2017
    2:47pm
    From reading all the comments I am left wondering if any of those poisons people take are really necessary.
    Supernan
    27th Jul 2017
    3:57pm
    Maybe you would be happy to spend your life crippled with Rheumatoid ! I prefer the drugs ! If you are an old geezer your might remember the claw like hands before Rheumatoid drugs were available ? I certainly do - I''m 74 !
    Kathleen
    27th Jul 2017
    4:23pm
    Some certainly are but others should be avoided like the drugs for osteoporosis. You are better off to go the natural route with that.
    Pain medication is important because you cannot heal if in pain like after surgery for example. Also, you cannot expect people to suffer.
    Diabetic drugs are needed as well to save your eyes for example.
    Maintenance drugs for Crohns are also important.
    Common sense and research helps people make the right decisions with medication.
    Old Geezer
    27th Jul 2017
    4:42pm
    Yes I remember but most of those people were idle and didn't use their hands like they should have used them. That's why they get people to knit in nursing homes today.

    My specialists wonder how I can even walk when they look at my scans and are very surprised when I tell them I take no poisons either. It's a case of use it or you lose it I'm afraid.

    Pain is also in the brain and you can teach your brain to minimise pain. I rarely need any pain killers after surgery.
    Maggie
    28th Jul 2017
    7:50am
    Wow Old Geezer, you sure do set yourself up as the expert (I seem to remember in other areas too?)

    I repeat, it is perfectly clear that you have not had a horrible incapacitating painful condition in your life, nor have you been one of the unlucky ones to have a bad experience with generic medications so might it not be a good idea to button up now?
    Anonymous
    29th Jul 2017
    7:49am
    OG doesn't just claim expertise in everything, he claims perfection - and assumes that anyone with a problem of any kind is automatically at fault. It's typical of the attitude of the classic narcissist. Suggests he's actually EXTREMELY MENTALLY ILL. Maybe some of these NON-GENERIC psych drugs would benefit him, if only he wasn't too arrogant and self-opinionated to try them.

    Maggie, I sympathize. I've been lucky so far to find natural remedies for my digestive troubles and my partner's gout. There's some truth that ''using it'' helps avoid ''losing it'', and that pain can be controlled by the mind, but - like natural remedies - it only goes so far. There's a point where those unfortunate enough to suffer certain conditions have to have drugs - and they have to have the drugs that work and have minimal side effects. I find OG's cruelty and nastiness inexcusable.
    Old Geezer
    29th Jul 2017
    2:47pm
    Gee I must have some good ideas then as history tells us that such people have been ridiculed just like you are trying to do Rainey.
    Anonymous
    31st Jul 2017
    9:07am
    Keep pumping yourself up, OG. With luck, you'll explode soon and we'll be free of your self-serving nastiness and ill-informed rubbish.
    PlanB
    31st Jul 2017
    12:18pm
    It is a shame that they aren't able to give out some EMPATHY drugs to the like of Old Geezer he could sure do with some
    Supernan
    27th Jul 2017
    3:52pm
    My Rheumatologist & Endocrinologist always put on their scripts: No substitutes. So they must think it's a problem not to have the original drug.
    orana
    27th Jul 2017
    4:13pm
    It is very easy to make an error with generic medication.
    The pharmacy does not always dispense the same generic tablets.
    There could be changes in the look of the tablet from one prescription to the next. Colours, and size of tablets can occur with a generic medication.
    The evidence of seniors and mismanagement of medication sometimes leading to hospitalization is high.
    Using same branded option is safer because that medication does not change in size, colour and inactive ingredients. This applies to all chemists.
    Branded tablets are the same Australia wide.
    Generic tablets are not. The chemist buys the cheapest brand and they are not always the same size colour. they can change to what ever cheapest price the chemist can buy them.
    AutumnOz
    27th Jul 2017
    4:48pm
    Agreed orana. The colouring agent can also cause problems for some people and that needs to be taken into consideration when using, or switching to, generic brands.
    Charlie
    27th Jul 2017
    4:26pm
    Ok there are two medications, lets say two different brands of Tramadol that produce the same concentrations in the blood. But what about sustained release, they may result in the same blood concentrations, but the speed at which that maximum concentration is reached can differ between brands.

    Generally the blood concentration will slowly rise and fall in a wave shape, the maximum concentration not reached for a couple of hours. When Tramal brand tramadol first came out they had a US patent on their release mechanism. Choose another brand like Sandoz that is regarded as a generic replacement and you will find that is a (modified) sustained release tablet, meaning that it has one layer quick release and the main part sustained release so it reaches maximum faster, but does it stay at maximum as long as the other tablet? This tablet may require taking it at a different interval.

    For a person with chronic nerve pain who takes these every day, year in year out at the same interval, suddenly switching to a generic brand can cause gaps in the pain protection.
    Jean
    27th Jul 2017
    4:29pm
    We are being forced to buy Generic medications by having to pay more for Brand named Medicines - this is blackmail ! I take Medication for intense pain and I know exactly that Generic brand Meds do not help as much as the Brand named ones. That is my proof - it is not a "mind over matter" situation, it is a "fact over feeling" matter. With Generic medication I am in more pain.
    Kathleen
    27th Jul 2017
    4:30pm
    Only today we had to chase up an alternative generic drug. I rang to find a chemist that sold one I can tolerate and my husband picked it up for me. APO brand is the one I have to avoid as it makes me feel very unwell and I have enough to put up with. The packaging on each medication tells you what you need to know. The brand is what is important. If a product is discontinued it is picked up by a range of alternative companies and there is a world of difference between them.
    Mahamelb
    27th Jul 2017
    4:32pm
    If you are on the pension and have prescription medicine why would you say yes to generic medicine. You are still paying the same price.
    PlanB
    31st Jul 2017
    12:19pm
    NO, you pay MORE for the Original Meds the Generic is cheaper
    Mahamelb
    27th Jul 2017
    4:32pm
    If you are on the pension and have prescription medicine why would you say yes to generic medicine. You are still paying the same price.
    Old Geezer
    27th Jul 2017
    4:44pm
    That's why the real medication should be more expensive than the generic medication for everyone.
    Kathleen
    27th Jul 2017
    5:02pm
    No, I have to pay double to get brand name of one of mine in particular. My sister has to also for the same reason. We have similar reaction.
    Hawkeye
    27th Jul 2017
    11:49pm
    Mahamelb, even if not on the pension, the same reasoning can apply.

    We reach the PBS Safety Net Limit around October every year, after which the medications cost bugger-all. So the total cost of medications is always about the same per year, whether we use generics or not.
    By using generics it just takes a fortnight or two longer to reach the Safety Net.
    So why would we use generics.
    Cleo
    27th Jul 2017
    4:50pm
    Generics were first marketed as giving us choice, but this has been watered down in several ways. In my experience over the last couple of years, chemists do not ask if I will accept a generic. They simply go by whether the doctor has ticked the generics not allowed box. Hence the choice has been removed from the consumer. On some occasions when I have said 'no generics', they tell me that they no longer stock the original brand and it will take a day or so to get it in, and therefore another trip to collect it, and a delay in starting the treatment. This underhand move to only stocking generics is again taking away our choice, this time by stealth.
    It also bothers me that to keep track of our medications, we need to know the exact name of the drug, which for the medically untrained, is tricky territory, particularly as every generic has a different brand name, so the name and packaging for one tablet could change each time a prescription is filled. And the tablets all look different so that cross check to ensure we are taking the correct ones has now been removed. The move to generics has created dangers relating to ensuring we are taking the correct medications.
    The other reason I prefer non-generics is that I am happy to reward the companies that invested in research and development in the first place, rather than to pay those who now piggy-back on this simply to make money.
    Lastly, I do not understand why it is that the full list of ingredients in medicines do not have to be displayed on the packaging of all medications, as is the case with every other manufactured product that we eat. And I would like to see country of manufacture added as well.
    Old Geezer
    27th Jul 2017
    4:56pm
    You should be given a product sheet with all prescriptions and that will answer all the questions you have raised.
    Hawkeye
    28th Jul 2017
    12:04am
    Cleo, if the Doc has'nt ticked the box, I do it for him.

    OG, please shut-up when you know nothing.
    In SA you don't get the data sheet unless you ask for it And doesn't the chemist chuck a tantrum if you do have gall to ask. The last thing they want is for the plebs to learn something about their "black magic"
    When I lived in NSW we did get the data sheets, but that was 20 years ago. I don't know about current policy in other states.
    Cleo
    28th Jul 2017
    2:41pm
    Hawkeye, yes I have been known to do that too, though I'm not sure if that's legal. And the availability of product sheets has lessened considerably everywhere in my experience of three states. Initially they were in everything. Then chemists started asking if you wanted one, and they would print it off. No prizes for guessing why it is that they don't offer anymore! Some will refer people to the internet, but not everyone has easy access or knows where to look. What's even worse is that is now a whole generation or two who don't even know that these sheets exist as they may never have seen one or been told about them! And chemists now don't put even basic information on labels. For example, my daughter recently had antibiotics and was not given any information from the Doctor or chemist about whether to take them with food or before or whatever. Yes the product sheet did give the instructions - if you know it exists and are well enough and able to access it! It seems in this age of information, we are actually getting less.
    Old Geezer
    27th Jul 2017
    4:52pm
    They changed the colour of a certain prescription drug used by many of the people in a nursing home. Many of them refused to take their medication because it was the wrong colour and those that did said it didn't work for them any more. Same drug except it was a different colour. That's the difference between brand and generic drugs too.
    Kathleen
    27th Jul 2017
    5:00pm
    No, wrong! The preparation and coating is different for each brand or maker.
    Old Geezer
    27th Jul 2017
    5:31pm
    Rubbish you just image it is like the old folk in the nursing home.
    Old Geezer
    27th Jul 2017
    5:33pm
    The government should make it that you only get the generic drug for the concession price if you want the real one then you should have to pay full price for it.
    Maggie
    27th Jul 2017
    6:17pm
    It is quite clear that you have no experience of what people are talking about. Like another writer, Jean, I can tell you for certain that generic brands of some opiates just do not work as well.

    People with intense chronic nerve pain have very little quality of life and if you take away effective meds from them, they have nothing to live for any longer.
    Kathleen
    27th Jul 2017
    8:46pm
    OG
    Read carefully
    WE PAY DOUBLE FOR THE PRIVILEGE OF HAVING THE ORIGINAL BRAND!
    Anonymous
    29th Jul 2017
    7:59am
    GrandmaKathleen22, in most cases your doctor should be able to get you the original brand at the concession price if you genuinely need it.

    OG's nastiness is disgusting. Health and pain relief should NEVER be limited to those who can afford to pay for it. In a caring society, we should all acknowledge that health care and pain relief is a right for everyone. There ARE differences between generic and original brands, and ALL of informed persons (drug manufacturers, doctors, chemists, etc. as well as patients) acknowledge the fact. Happily, generics often do work as well, and it's great that we can sometimes save money by using them. But nobody should be making assumptions, much less trying to force people to accept a treatment that is unsuitable. And to imply that people in nursing homes are stupid is vile, OG! It may well be that there WERE differences in the effect of the drugs, given that to change colour the maker probably had to change at least one of the ingredients in the coating.

    You are WRONG, OG. And our nasty and cruels remarks are NOT WELCOME.
    Old Geezer
    31st Jul 2017
    10:48am
    Rainey even under our system the best drugs are only available to those who can afford them. If it's under the PBS then there is usually something better that is not.
    Cat
    27th Jul 2017
    9:07pm
    For a long time I couldn't figure out why, for no reason, I would have unexplained intermittent relapses of a debilitating knee condition. Out of nowhere, my knee would gradually start swelling up and I would lose the ability to walk. On one occasion it was so bad I was told to go to emergency. Eventually it would clear up again. All factors remained the same, except for one factor that I eventually realised was that these relapses had occured when I had agreed to one of the generic brands of mobic when getting the script filled. On the last occasion I did this the generic brand was totally ineffective - that's when I ended up in emergency. It had played havoc with my life. I never chose the generic brand again and I never had relapses from that point on.

    What this article doesn't mention is that one of the inactive ingredients that may be different in the generic brand is the preservative that is used, and the quality of a preservative can affect how well the active ingredients are preserved. They don't even think of this when they tell you at the pharmacy that there is no difference to the active ingredients also claiming that it will be as effective as the branded version, yet at the same time they admit that ingredients such as the preservative that they cite as an example can be different. Because I believed what they were telling me I suffered long term and couldn't do things I liked as well as stuffing up what limited opportunity I had to work.

    To relieve the pain I was caused by these generic brands before I reaslised what was coinciding with my relapses, I had to resort to occasionally taking codeine, and also found that the generic brand of that also had a lame effect. The branded codeine was alot more powerfull, and because of that I only needed to take 1 tablet of the branded codeine, but 2 of that generic brand didn't even have the same effect. That certainly can't be good for anyone.

    I notice recently that when they offer me the generic brand at the chemist, they no longer claim that it will have the same effect as the branded version, and I believe that is because there has been widespread experience that this isn't true. However, if you find your meds too strong and would like something less effective, then generics might be the answer for you.
    Kathleen
    27th Jul 2017
    9:37pm
    Thank you for that Cat. It makes sense. Their testing is therefore inadequate because they have not looked at that down the track to check the ingredients have maintained their efficacy.
    Joy Anne
    28th Jul 2017
    7:05am
    This is a total disgrace. I as a Pensioner have to pay far more now for my scripts as I have already tried Generic and I am unable to take these due to the compound of the medication,
    I became violently ill and cannot take generic and have to have the brand name. Thank you Turnbull for your inconsideration in this matter for pensioners. I find that after paying $600 a fortnight for rent this means I struggle to buy food after rent, electricity, medicalert, etc cause of the cost of medication.
    Kathleen
    28th Jul 2017
    10:24am
    Think about getting the brand at the pensioner rate then.
    I think it is doable. You have a case because you do not have sufficient money left for food.
    I have heard of someone achieving this.
    There are probably forms and doctor needs to write a letter explaining how you are unable to take the cheap brands.
    APO is the one I have to avoid.
    Kathleen
    28th Jul 2017
    11:00am
    Australian Department of Human Service
    Your doctor can make a case for you based on 'ineffective' and get the proper drug for you.
    It is a bit of work for your doctor.
    Josie4
    28th Jul 2017
    7:11am
    I always went for the generics until I took one in place of Nexium, which I was taki g for heart burn. I noticed almost immediately that the generic wasnt as effective. Mentioned it to the Chemist and he agreed that others had mentioned the same thing. Back to Nexium.
    PlanB
    28th Jul 2017
    10:08am
    Some genetic are OK others may not be -- some people can be allergic to the fillers used -- so be aware
    patchy
    28th Jul 2017
    10:20am
    my branded blood pressure pills are packed on a calendar backing mon tues wed etc making it easier to see if I have missed one ,the generic ones are packed on a blank backing card
    A. N. Onymous
    28th Jul 2017
    8:19pm
    Interesting comments from everyone.

    Old Geezer's comment at 2:42 pm yesterday: "Bananas taste different too but they are all bananas. If the active ingredient is the same then they must be the same but one is a lot cheaper."
    Old Geezer, try using Google or another search engine to ask "How do banana varieties differ?" Would love to hear a report about your research in a few days or weeks or months since Google produces "About 448,000 results".

    In Cleo's comment at 4:50 pm yesterday -- "Lastly, I do not understand why it is that the full list of ingredients in medicines do not have to be displayed on the packaging of all medications, as is the case with every other manufactured product that we eat."

    In Cat's comment at 9:07 pm yesterday -- "What this article doesn't mention is that one of the inactive ingredients that may be different in the generic brand is the preservative that is used, and the quality of a preservative can affect how well the active ingredients are preserved."

    I made the following lengthy comment on 10th October 2015 to another YLC article about generic and brand medicines. I'll repeat it here.

    I divide my back problems into three categories:  (a) the tired, aching back that most, if not all of us, experience from time to time, that simply requires rest; (b) the occasional warning stab of pain caused by something I've done, like turning too far to the right or left or by lifting something too heavy; and (c) the post-warning condition when the pain is no longer a stab but constant, when what I did has caused inflammation, and when an anti-inflammatory and/or an extra visit, or visits, to the chiropractor is required.

    Four or five years ago (around this time of the year) I had a (c) experience and needed an anti-inflammatory for back pain.  I went to a pharmacy and asked for naproxen sodium.  The pharmacy employee looked at me blankly. 

    I said, "anti-inflammatory." 

    She replied, "prescription."   (She didn't ask; she replied.) 

    I said, "No -- over the counter."

    She said, "Just a minute," went away, and returned with the pharmacist, who was carrying a box of naproxen sodium in her hand.  "Have you taken this before?"

    "Yes, and I know that it should be taken with food and shouldn't be taken for more than a few days."

    "But have you taken THIS brand before?"

    "Yes, I have." 

    I paid for the box of twenty-four tablets they finally agreed to sell to me.  If I hadn't been in pain at that time, I would have said more than, "Yes, I have." 

    I would have asked them what difference it made.   I had bought it at their pharmacy (almost next door to my chiropractor) and at least two other pharmacies over the years.   Each pharmacy had sold me its house brand/generic.    I would have said, "Naproxen sodium is the active ingredient.  What does it matter whether it's a generic or a brand name from your pharmacy or any other?   What does it matter whether I buy Home Brand or Nescafe or International Roast?  It's all coffee."

    At a Christmas/Boxing Day gathering a few weeks later, the conversation turned to health, medicine, etc.; and I told the above story.   The host's daughter, who had worked for a pharmacy at one time, said, "It's not the active ingredient.  It's the filler.  There might be something in their filler, but not in another brand you had taken previously, that would cause you problems."

    Would someone please explain to me why I can look at any (or almost any?) item on the shelves of our supermarkets and read warnings such as, "This product might contain nuts" (or eggs, or wheat, or whatever -- perhaps even specifying the reason the ingredient might be in the product) but medicines (which we take to CURE us) don't have (are not required to have?) similar warnings?
    PlanB
    29th Jul 2017
    9:20am
    Thank you Onymous, for your explanation and I agree with you -- and these darn Chemists are always pushing their own brands and so many people never question ANYTHING -- not even with their Drs -- they tret these people like tin Gods -- I say question everything.

    Also, has anyone noticed that almost everything in the medical field is now made in China/India/ or some other suspicious place even the cotton wool etc -- check 1st and please complain about this we have NO idea of the cleanliness of these places
    LiveItUp
    29th Jul 2017
    9:16am
    Years ago you could buy asprins etc at chemists. Then the supermarkets staeted selling them but people were reluctant to buy them from supermarkets. So questions were asked why as they were less than half price of the ones at the chemist.

    The reason was that big pharma had instructed chemists to say they have superior fillers in the ones they sold and the ones from the supermarket were practucally useless so it was better to pay a little extra and get something that worked.

    So this con or scam continues today so big pharma can sell it's drigs instead of generics.

    There is simpky nothing in the filler agrument other than a con by big pharma.
    Maggie
    29th Jul 2017
    9:28am
    Are you a pharmacist that you pronounce with such great authority?

    It would be great to have a response from someone with the knowledge and experience to comment from a properly informed point of view.

    I think there is plenty of evidence from people who have suffered ill effects from fillers and additives to suggest that generics are NOT the same as the brand name meds and I am one of them.
    LiveItUp
    29th Jul 2017
    10:10am
    Do you really think for one minute a pharmacist would tell you what is really going on? Afterall they are just sales people for big drug companies.

    Personally I take no drugs other than good food, clean water and exercise. I now know why.
    Maggie
    29th Jul 2017
    11:23am
    What a lucky person you are. You must have good genes (for which you are not responsible)

    I do have a good sound reliable source of information: a doctor who is my friend. They have a degree in pharmacy as well and has practised as a pharmacist.

    Furthermore not only the pharmacist but the assistant in the pharmacy I use have both advised against buying useless vitamins etc and the shelves are full of them - just because the general public is prey to the advertising on TV etc. and demands them without question.

    But of course your mind is made up so . . .and I wish you well. I hope that the good food clean water and exercise, which no one in their right mind would deny is important, continue to be sufficient for you. How lovely that would be for people who suffer through no fault of their own. No amount of good food . . .is going to stop accidents and genetic diseases.
    A. N. Onymous
    29th Jul 2017
    12:52pm
    Maggie,

    You mention ". . . both advised against buying useless vitamins etc . . ." I hope you do not mean, or think, that all vitamins are useless.

    In his post at 7:49 am today Rainey said, "I've been lucky so far to find natural remedies for my digestive troubles and my partner's gout." So I'm not the only one here who looks at alternative/complementary medicines.

    I take multple vitamins daily, some of them more than once a day. I started taking Blackmore's Macu-vision X years ago on the instruction of my optometrist. All of the others I started at various times in the past, originally (in pre-computer days) when I read something in a book or newspaper or magazine and later as a result of online information when I was looking for something.

    When I started taking them, I would tell my late husband what I had read where and why I thought we should take them (e.g. Vitamin E for its antioxidant benefit). He wasn't interested. Once I put some Vitamin E in his coffee. As it is oily, he noticed the coffee looked different and asked what had caused the change in appearance. I said the cup must have been dirty and made him a fresh one (without the E, of course). Many years later, when he was diagnosed with prostate cancer, he said he would start taking Vitamin E. The doctor said, "It's too late. It's a preventative measure." He did NOT say Vitamin E would have been useless.

    I don't often comment here. When I do, my posts are sometimes brief but more often lengthy. They are lengthy if I think what I have to say will help someone. I have posted lengthy comments about vitamins at https://www.yourlifechoices.com.au/health/wellbeing/seven-ways-to-alleviate-joint-pain (re glucosamine) and at https://www.yourlifechoices.com.au/news/five-ways-to-get-rid-of-hayfever-fast (re zinc).

    Many years ago, before I retired, a young woman in our office had a bad head cold. I always carried a small container of 500 mg. Vitamin C tablets in my purse, and I offered them to her. I suggested she take one every half hour or hour. She looked at them and me suspiciously. I told her that if her body didn't need them, she would urinate more. She still looked suspicious. So I told her I wasn't going to force them on her and that I would leave the container on her desk in case she wanted to try them.

    The next week she came to my desk and told me she had been to the doctor since our discussion. She said, "I told him what you said, and HE SAID YOU WERE RIGHT!" (I know caps mean shouting -- she didn't shout, but she did raise her voice.)

    Vitamins are definitely NOT useless.
    Maggie
    29th Jul 2017
    1:12pm
    Oh dear I did not say,nor imply that all vitamins are useless. Let's get that straight.

    The fact is that many of the brands sold on pharmacy shelves are useless and this has been documented over and again and been the subject of at least one very convincing documentary on TV not so long ago here in Australia.

    This documentary showed that many of them are useless because they contain insufficient of whatever it is they advertise to do any good, and many of them contain mixers and fillers that are actually harmful. It also showed that many products contain ingredients presented in such a way that they are not assimilated in the body and are therefore useless.

    Sadly the documentary did not actually name the brands either good or bad so in that sense it was not altogether helpful.

    It is therefore vitally important to ascertain which brands are both actually helpful and not harmful.

    Further sometimes if a vitamin is missing from a product which contains mixed ingredients and which purports to be helpful, it seems that the product also becomes both useless and harmful.

    I was told by a doctor that it has been shown in recent studies that when Vitamin K is missing from so -called bone strengthers the calcium never gets to the bone, instead it lines arteries and contributes to arterial disease.

    There is just so much that the layperson cannot know. A good balanced diet does everything that most people need for health.

    I am NOT saying that vitamins are not vital for some people and some conditions. I think the medics are the best judges of that though.
    Old Geezer
    29th Jul 2017
    2:07pm
    Vitamins equals expensive urine.
    PlanB
    29th Jul 2017
    2:33pm
    Old Geezer equals rude idiot
    Old Geezer
    29th Jul 2017
    2:44pm
    There is a very good opportunity for someone to harvest all those vitamins from our sewerage and make zillions. I guess only an idiot would do that though.
    Anonymous
    31st Jul 2017
    9:04am
    I concur, PlanB.

    OG, I suggest you try it. With luck you might poison yourself doing preliminary testing. What a blessing that would be for the world!
    Old Geezer
    31st Jul 2017
    10:40am
    You really don't think I am that stupid that I would even test those poisons do you? Nay I'll leave it up to you lot instead.
    A. N. Onymous
    29th Jul 2017
    2:29pm
    Thanks, Maggie. If we were talking face to face, or even on the telephone, any misunderstandings or misinterpretations could be quickly clarified. These online comments / forums / discussions are useful and helpful, but they don't equate to personal conversations.

    We've gone off subject as well, but sometimes the alternative/complementary therapies like vitamins are equal to (and possibly better than) medicines, whether the latter are branded or generic.

    I'll share another lengthy vitamin story which everyone who isn't interested in can skim or skip.

    Earlier this year I noticed a round red mark on the side of my foot. I couldn't figure out where it had come from. After a while the center of it was weeping. I am very sensitive, but it didn't itch or hurt. Then a smaller similar mark appeared on my middle toe on the same foot. I didn't know what was causing them to appear. Having used Vitamin E in the past as a healing ingredient/ointment, I poked a hole in one of the Vitamin E tablets that I take nightly and squeezed the oil onto them, massaging it in. I continued doing this for a while.

    On my next two-monthly visit to the podiatrist to have my toenails cut, I showed him the sores. He told me I had tinea and recommended that I use Lamasil on it daily. He also said if it didn't improve in a month or so, I should see my doctor.

    Something completely unrelated happened later the same afternoon (a Thursday) that resulted in my seeing my doctor the following Monday, when I had not yet bought any Lamasil. While I was seeing my doctor about the unrelated matter, I showed him my foot and told him what the podiatrist had said.

    My doctor said Lamasil required a prescription, but he was referring to tablets; the cream recommended by the podiatrist does not. My doctor also said I had ringworm, not tinea, and told me what I could buy for it from my pharmacy.

    Some Googling revealed that tinea and ringworm are related. I also searched for natural treatments to see if the Vitamin E I had been using without knowing what I had was in fact a possible cure. Apple cider vinegar (on the sores, not for drinking) was mentioned in a few places, but I didn't find Vitamin E mentioned. (Would I have found it if I had continued searching?)

    I bought what my doctor recommended. Before using it I washed my foot carefully to remove all traces of the oily Vitamin E so that it wouldn't block the cream. When I had washed and dried it completely, I discovered that the weeping centers were gone and the red marks were going. The Vitamin E had done the trick, and I returned the unopened medicine to the chemist.
    PlanB
    29th Jul 2017
    2:43pm
    Yes Onymous, there are some good vitamins out there if needed --
    LiveItUp
    2nd Aug 2017
    8:03am
    Maybe a bit more walking would improve your circulation and stop such things occuring. I often wonder about how people get to the stage where they can't trim thier own toe nails. I have no trouble even at my age. How many old people can pick themselves up if they fall over today? This is something they should learn to do as it might save you spending hours if not days waiting for help. I see news stories nearly every day of old people unable to get help and some even die.


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