to the Congressional Budget Office, generic drugs save consumers an
estimated $8 billion to $10 billion a year at retail pharmacies. Even
more billions are saved when hospitals use generics.
While generic drugs may be cheaper than brand-name drugs, they aren't inferior. In fact, they're "bioequivalent."
A generic drug is a copy that is the same as a brand-name drug in dosage, safety, strength, how it is taken, quality, performance, and intended use.
The FDA requires that all drugs be safe and effective. Since generics use the same active ingredients and are shown to work the same way in the body, they have the same risks and benefits as their brand-name counterparts.
The FDA also requires generic drugs to have the same quality, purity, strength and stability as brand-name drugs.
Generic drugs are less expensive because generic manufacturers don't have the investment costs that the developer of a new drug has.
New drugs are developed under patent protection. The patent protects the investment -- including research, development, marketing, and promotion -- by giving the company the sole right to sell the drug while it is in effect.
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