Substituting Brand Name Drugs for Generic Drugs

Can I substitute brand name drugs with generic drugs?


This is a frequently asked question. You may want to control the cost of your medical expenses, and buying a generic drug instead of a brand name drug may seem to be an option. However, we strongly suggest that you consult a medical professional before you consider this option.

Reasons why you must consult a doctor before you switch from a brand name drug to a generic drug.
 

  • The FDA (Food and Drug Administration) has a test called the "bio–equivalence test." Simply put, this test checks whether a generic version of a particular brand name drug is as effective as the brand name drug. This means that at times, a generic drug may not be an "exact" substitute for a particular brand name drug. There may be very minor differences as far as the "effectiveness" of the drug is concerned.
  • Usually, these differences are negligible but at the same time there are drugs that operate within a narrow spectrum of effectiveness. In this case, switching from a brand name drug to a generic drug may not be advisable. This is very relevant for seniors and infants.
  • It has been observed in some patients that substituting brand name drugs with FDA–approved generic drugs may cause minor side–effects. This is especially true for diseases like epilepsy. This is a cause for concern for medical professionals. This is the reason why medical professionals are usually not very comfortable with substituting the types of drugs that has been prescribed to patients.

 

How can you find out if a generic drug has a brand name equivalent?


This is easy! There are a number of ways of finding out if a certain brand name drug has a generic equivalent. A few of the options are:

You may consult a medical professional (a doctor or a pharmacist). This is the easiest and the most reliable option. All you have to do is to type the brand name of the drug, and in case there is a generic equivalent available then both the brand name and the generic versions of the medicine will be provided. You may also compare the prices of drugs, if you want to.