The main difference between generic drugs and their brand-name counterparts is that generic drugs are typically much less expensive.
Generic drugs are just as effective as brand-name drugs
According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), generic drugs work the same as brand-name drugs. Learn more.
A generic version of a brand-name drug will have:
- The same active ingredient (the drug listed on the label)
- The same strength
- The same use indications
- The same form (such as a tablet or an injectable)
- The same route of administration (such as oral or topical)
- The same strict manufacturing standards as the brand-name drug
- Acceptable inactive ingredients
If generic drugs are just as effective as brand-name drugs, why are they less expensive?
Brand-name drugs are usually protected by patents, which prevent other companies from selling generic versions. When a patent expires, other companies can make generic versions. Makers of generic drugs do not have to pay for research and development, and can offer the generic version at a lower price than the brand-name drug.