Generic vs brand-name medications

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This is a topic I have strong feelings about, because I have worked in both generic and brand-name pharmaceutical companies.

As an employee, it is preferable to be employed by a brand-name company. The perks are many: higher remuneration, thicker carpet in the conference rooms, and nicer hotels while traveling. It will not surprise you that the reason I prefer working for a brand-name company is because all those extras are paid for by the patients and their health care insurance companies.

Unlike the store brand of toilet paper at your local grocery store, whose inferior quality is obvious in comparison to the brand-name, I assure you that generic and brand-name medications are held to the identical high standard.

I agree that store brand Dr Pepper just doesn't cut it; I don't buy it either. However, when available, I always opt for the generic medication, prescription or over-the-counter (OTC). Why? Because when it comes to medication, the active ingredient is what's important, and frequently the generic and brand companies are buying from the same supplier.

There's also the misconception that newer medications are always better than older ones. This is nothing further from the truth. The myth is what's behind Marketing 101; pharmaceutical companies try to assert this after realizing they are not the first on the market (and therefore competing for the crumbs of market share). No, newer is decidedly not necessarily better.

If your doctor prescribes something for you and it happens to have a generic equivalent available (that is, the patent has expired on it), be grateful the patent lawyers couldn't delay the inevitable any longer and ask for your prescription to be filled with the generic equivalent. Otherwise, it's just money down the drain. (Do you think your arteries are impressed by an antihypertensive with a TM after its name?)

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