Difference Between Name Brand and Generic Drugs

A drug always has a generic name and many trade names. Although there is no difference in the drug whether it is the generic drug or the branded drug, many factors influence for the difference in names. The objective of this article is to discuss those factors.

Name Brand Drug

When a drug is first developed and has major health benefits, its commercial value is very high. A brand name is given when the drug is sold by a pharmaceutical company under a commercially popular name, which is a protected trade name at most incidents. A brand name drug can only be manufactured by the pharmaceutical company which holds the rights to do so. Brand names are easy for public to use because no medical terminology is involved. Therefore, most of the name brand drugs are available over-the-counter and can be purchased without a prescription.

The difference between the name brand drug and the generic drug is actually effective until the name brand drug is under patent protection. Once a drug is developed, a pharmaceutical company takes the patent for the drug which expires after 20 years according to United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Usually this 20 years starts before the clinical trials are initiated. Therefore, the actual life of the drug patent is usually seven to twelve years. During this time, only the patent holder has the manufacturing authority which has a direct effect on the price. The drug is marketed by the company, and the cost of the drug may be quite high. Some name brand drugs remains to be expensive even after the generic drugs appear but most reduce the price after the patent expires.

Generic Drug

Generic name is the name frequently used by the doctors when prescribing a drug. For an instance, a doctor may prescribe lansoprazole, which is the generic name, and the patient can purchase either generic lansoprazole, Prevacid, Helicid or Zoton etc., which are commercial trade names of the same drug. Generic name is unique and universal. This allows doctors and relevant professionals to prescribe or provide prescriptions without confusion. Usually generic drugs come with a label holding manufacturer’s name and the adopted name.

A generic drug sticks to the original formula of the drug and is very much similar to the name brand drug in dose, strength, method of administration, efficacy, and safety. There may be differences when it comes to packaging and manufacture practices not to forget the marketing. The generic drugs are usually lower in price because they are produced after the patent expires because many pharmaceutical companies are competing to produce the drug at the same time.

What is the difference between Name Brand Drug and Generic Drug?

• Name brand drugs are protected by the trade name and produced by the pharmaceutical company holding the patent but generic drugs could be produced by many companies after the patent expires.

• Generally, Name brand drugs are expensive until generic drugs are manufactured.

• Name brand drug is not universal, but generic name is universal which allows it to be used for drug prescribing almost always.