Generic medicine vs branded medicine: Things you should know about

India is the third-largest producer of pharmaceuticals across the globe. It has more than 262 US FDA-compliant pharmacy plants – the highest – outside of the USA, 2000+ pharmacy plants compliant with WHO-GMP, and more than 250 European Directorate of Quality-approved plants.

The pace at which this industry has grown in India and the heft it exercises on a global scale has been tremendously inspiring, somewhat emulating the prosperity of what is telemedicine. The generic medicinal sector has made the most prominent contribution in this regard, accounting for nearly 70% of the total industry, and brand-name medicines’ share being around 9%.

The difference in the output shows the general tendency of the population towards generic drugs. However, opting for generic medicines over brand-name drugs may not always be a wise path to take.

What is a branded medicine?

Brand-name medicine refers to those drugs that have been exclusively developed and patented by a particular pharmaceutical company. From the initial conception to receiving approval from CDSCO to trials to final production, everything is carried out by that company, and such a drug is rolled out carrying that brand’s name. The brand, in this case, possesses the patent to that formula for a fixed period, usually up to 20 years.

For instance, Motrin and Advil are branded medicines often used in dental treatment for relieving pain.

What is a generic medicine?

Generic medicines are those that have been produced using the same formula as its branded counterpart. These drugs usually follow similar dosage form and routes of administration. Usually, when the patent of a branded drug expires, other pharmaceutical companies can develop the same drug as a generic medicine.

Ibuprofen is the generic medication carrying the brand name of Motrin and Advil.

What are the differences between branded medicine and generic medicine?

While the formula used, usage and process of administration are the same in both the cases, there are a few points of distinction involved –

  1. CDSCO approval

Every pharmaceutical company needs to acquire the approval of CDSCO before rolling out any drug in the market, be it an innovator brand or its generic counterpart.

When a company is bringing a new medicine in the market, it needs to submit a New Drug Application (NDA) along with documents supporting the chemistry, the clinical trials conducted, its dosage form, administration route, the efficacy of the drug, side effects (if any), stability, and even the marketing of it.

But, when another company rolls out the same drug under a generic name, it does not have to provide documents supporting preclinical and clinical data concerning the safety and efficacy of it. Such a company only needs to substantiate the bioequivalence between branded and generic medications.

  1. Cost

Branded drugs are more expensive than generic medicines. That is because, when a company newly introduces a medicine, it has to pour a considerable sum of investment into its research and development. However, that is not the case with generic drugs, since they use the already tried and tested formula of a branded medicine.

  1. Effectiveness

The point that patients need to consider when deciding between a branded and generic drug is whether the latter will be as useful as the former. In most cases, it may be that there is no difference in quality or efficacy.

However, a study published in Canada noted that some patients demonstrated a higher rate of side effects when they took three different generic medicines for blood pressure. Thus, a generic drug may not always prove as effective or safe as a branded medicine.

For this reason, several practitioners in what is telemedicine or in-person treatment as well often prescribe branded drugs over their cheaper alternatives.

In other cases, there may be no alternative to a branded drug because of effective patent protection. Without a cheaper variant, individuals may often find covering the costs of medicines to be burdensome. In that case, they might consider a Bajaj Finserv Health EMI network card.

What is a Bajaj Finserv health card?

A Bajaj Finserv Digital Health EMI Network Card allows individuals to defray medical and medicinal costs of up to Rs.4 lakh, and repay the same in EMIs stretching for a period of up to 24 months. This way, individuals can alleviate the financial burden that comes with expensive medication efficiently. Here are its features –

  • Extensive coverage

The Bajaj Finserv health card offers coverage for more than 800 treatments, including dental treatment. Individuals can use this card in 5500+ medical facilities across more than 1000 cities in India.

  • Deals and discounts

The health EMI card provides discounts and offers on a range of medical services and products across several partner facilities. With this card, individuals can avail branded drugs or even generic drugs at discounts.

  • Fast activation

Individuals can access the benefits of this card instantly after successful application. Online application for the health card can be made entirely online, ensuring a more hassle-free experience. A one-time fee starting at just Rs.589 is necessary to avail this card.

  • Family-wide coverage

With one such card, all family members can avail benefits. Your spouse, children, siblings and parents can use it whenever they require healthcare services.

Also, with the Aarogya Care initiative, beneficiaries will be able to access a host of healthcare services through their mobile phone. The platform has more than 9000 doctors and 200 hospitals registered, ensuring easier access to telemedicine for individuals.