Generic – It’s NOT the “same thing!”

10 Jan

Many months ago, I posted about my stance on generic medications. Today I read a fabulous article from Fortune magazine that supports my experience with branded medications versus their generic counterparts.

My favorite excerpt:

But generic drugs diverge from the originals far more than most of us believe. For starters, it’s not as if the maker of the original pharmaceutical hands over its manufacturing blueprint when its patent runs out or is challenged. The patent reveals the components, but it doesn’t explain how to make the drug. In reality, manufacturing a generic requires reverse engineering, and the result is an approximation rather than a duplicate of the original.

The FDA’s rules effectively acknowledge that. The agency’s definition of bioequivalence is surprisingly broad: A generic’s maximum concentration of active ingredient in the blood must not fall more than 20% below or 25% above that of the brand name. This means a potential range of 45%, by that measure, among generics labeled as being the same.

There are other differences. The generic must contain the same active ingredient as the original. But the additional ingredients, known as excipients, can be different and are often of lower quality. Those differences can affect what’s called bioavailability — the amount of drug that could potentially be absorbed into the bloodstream. As the American Heart Association recently noted, “Some additives traditionally thought to be inert, such as alcohol sugars, cyclodextrans, and polysorbate-80, may alter a drug’s dissolution, thereby impacting its bioavailability.”

Full article  here.

Fellow thyroid patients – are you feeling poorly on your generic hormone replacement drug? Sometimes the extra copay is a good investment to make.

3 Responses to “Generic – It’s NOT the “same thing!””

  1. Caroline January 10, 2013 at 9:28 pm #

    So grateful for this post as I just made the switch to Tirosint (no generic available for this T4) recently and was questioning if the copay is worth it.

  2. Chris R January 11, 2013 at 12:39 pm #

    I also agree that brand name Synthroid is the way to go. I lasted all of a week or so on Levo before switching to Synthroid and it was worth the extra $30/month to feel that much better.

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