In 2017, the people of Canada expended approximately $33.9 billion CAD on prescription medications, accounting for around 2% of the nation’s GDP at that time. Prescription drug spending made up around 14% of total healthcare expenditures. Despite being the sole high-income nation without universal prescription drug coverage, Canada possesses a combination of public and private health insurance schemes striving to bridge this gap.
Numerous medications exist in today’s market. Some are accessible as generic drugs (at times referred to as the generic version of a branded medication), while others are solely obtainable as branded medications. What distinguishes generic and branded drugs? How can one reduce prescription expenses? When should you select a branded or generic medication?
Understanding the Differences Between Generic and Branded Medications: Key Points
Generic drugs are replicas of branded medications, containing identical active components, potency, and dosage forms (e.g., tablet, capsule, patch, etc.). Generally, generic drugs are substantially more affordable than their branded counterparts. This is due to the fact that pharmaceutical firms that create branded medications must recoup the expenses of developing and marketing these drugs.
Well-known pharmaceutical companies (e.g., Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer) develop and market branded medications. They might be costlier than generic drugs, but could also provide supplementary advantages like enhanced effectiveness or reduced side effects.
Reputable firms (e.g., APOTEX, TEVA, Sandos) develop generic medications, which are distinct from those producing branded medications.
Availability is another distinction between generic and branded medications. Generic drugs are typically obtainable in a greater number of countries compared to branded medications, as they aren’t subject to the same patent protections.
The final distinction between generic and branded medications is the manufacturing procedure. Multiple companies typically produce generic drugs, whereas a single firm generally manufactures branded drugs. Consequently, there is increased competition among generic drug manufacturers, which tends to reduce prices.
Consult your physician or pharmacist to ascertain if a generic medication is appropriate for your situation. In some cases, a branded medication may be the sole option for treating a specific condition. Conversely, a generic drug could be equally effective as a branded medication and significantly less expensive.
Saving Money on Prescription Drugs: Generic vs. Branded Medications
Prescription drug costs continue to escalate, but there is a noteworthy disparity between the expenses of a branded medication and a therapeutically-equivalent generic drug. A branded medication’s cost could range from 300 to 900% of the cost of a generic drug!
To save money on prescription drugs, consider the following:
1. Compare prices.
As with other products, prescription drug costs may vary depending on the pharmacy. Before filling your prescription, compare prices at different pharmacies.
2. Request a generic drug.
Generic drugs are just as effective as branded medications but are generally more affordable. If your doctor prescribes a branded medication, inquire about a generic alternative.
3. Explore patient assistance programs.
If you cannot afford a prescription drug due to factors such as job loss, seek a patient assistance program. Offered by the Government of Alberta, these programs can provide the necessary medications at no cost or a reduced rate.
Choosing Between Generic and Branded Medications: Key Considerations
When deciding between generic and branded medications, consider the following factors:
- Price: Generic medications are generally more affordable than branded drugs, with some exceptions.
- Efficacy: Generic drugs must adhere to the same safety, efficacy, and quality standards as branded medications. In certain cases, generic drugs may be more effective.
- Side effects: Generic medications must report identical side effects as their branded counterparts. However, due to different inactive ingredients, they could cause varying side effects.
Lastly, consult your doctor or pharmacist to determine the most suitable medication for your needs. They can assist you in evaluating the advantages and disadvantages of generic and branded medications, allowing you to make the most informed decision for your situation.
Our pharmacy in Calgary, AB, is dedicated to helping our patients and the residents of Ogden and Riverbend communities decide what best meets their requirements, whether it’s a branded or generic medication. At Ogden Pharmacy, we cater to individuals with chronic conditions, children, and seniors by offering services such as free prescription delivery, free blister packaging, compounded medications, pet medications, over-the-counter medications, opioid treatment, and other services. By providing tailored assistance and expert advice, we aim to improve the health and well-being of our community members.