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Generic drugs

Do We Really Take Only Branded Medicines

Are you surprised by this question or you think that I doubt it? Have you ever been told the fact that most of the drugs we take on our normal days are generic drugs? Well, I am using this question mainly for painting a larger picture about brand name drugs and the little big facts about the cheap drugs as generic drugs are commonly called as.

Let's start by brushing up our knowledge about the history of generics prior to the concept of monopolistic international patent regime came into being. It was a time when only the large and established multinational pharmaceutical companies that developed and manufactured drugs in almost every country and wherever they didn't manufacture, they used to ship branded drugs at high costs. This went on for long times till small and medium drug manufacturers emerged from nowhere in many developing countries and manufactured the same drugs with all the same parameters to be distributed and sold in their regional geographies as generic alternatives.

While generics were approved and used as qualitative alternatives for costly and imported branded drugs, the cheap drugs went on from strength to strength as time passed by because of their proven bio equalities. As people at large and doctors and physicians in specific developed confidence in using or recommending cheap drugs, which boosted the sale of generic drugs, this started ringing bells for the large multinational drug manufacturers. They saw their market, which they had in their pockets for long, eroding in favor of generic drugs manufacturers.

While this alone means that cheap drugs or generic drugs are being sold and consumed by considerable number of people in varied number of countries, branded drugs still enjoyed their brand loyalty, their consumers had reposed on them, in developed countries of Northern America and Western Europe. Besides, we can’t forget the fact that, all these years the market was rapidly expanding for both generics and brand name drugs due to increasing healthcare awareness, increased spending on healthcare and global population increase.

Still, there was a major question that needed to be answered. The brand, being an intellectual property, which has taken years of time to research and develop, was under threat from generic drugs. It is clear that the first seeds of global patent were sown to accord exclusive marketing rights for the original inventor of brand name drugs for 20 years.

Truly, patent protection is an answer to the concerns of multinational corporations; they could sell their products exclusively and at high costs decided by them as sufficient for them to recover their developmental and intellectual costs. But at the end of the day drugs are going to be consumed by ordinary citizens no matter whether they are within their means to cover the cost or whether they are covered by insurance or nothing at all.

Generics are allowed in almost every country on certain grounds during the exclusivity period also and this is an old enough issue to be normal for the patients as well as doctors to treat generic drugs and cheap drugs on par with branded drugs.

Do you still think that we are taking only branded drugs?