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A generic medicine contains the same active ingredient/s and has the same dosage form and strength as the original medicine.1 Because generic medicines work in the same way in the body, they are interchangeable and used in place of original medicines.1,3
  • Generics offer substantial cost savings without compromising on efficacy2,4
  • Cost saving allows you more efficient use of your medical aid benefits2
  • Cost saving allows for more money to pay for other, more expensive treatments and services that you may need3
  • Lower priced medicines encourage more healthy competition in the market2
  • Generics offer you the opportunity to exercise your rights as a consumer2
Adcock Ingram manufactures registered generic medicines which are of good quality, safety and efficacy. Adcock Ingram is one of South Africa's leading manufacturers of generic medicines and has been providing healthcare solutions for over a century.6 Our product list includes treatments for the most commonly occurring diseases and disorders and we have several generics that have become leaders in the generic category.6 Adcock Ingram strives to bring you affordable generic medicines of the highest quality. We believe in adding value to you and your loved ones and therefore offer a range of quality medicines which you can depend on.
A company is allowed to manufacture and sell a generic medicine only once the patent for the original medicine has expired.1 A patent is typically granted for a 20 year period to allow the innovator company enough time to recover its research and development costs.1
Generic medicines are identified by their own brand name or by their internationally invented names.3 Although they contain the same active ingredient as the original medicine, they may contain different non-active ingredients, such as colourings, starches, sugars, etc.3 There may also be differences in size, shape, colour or pack size, but none of these have any impact on the way they work.2,3
In a bid to lower South Africa's medicine costs, legislation regarding mandatory generic substitution was implemented in 2003.4 This law compels pharmacists or dispensing doctors to offer patients a generic alternative for any medicine prescribed.1,4
Generic medicines contain the same active ingredients as the original medicine, however, they are considerably less expensive because they cost less to develop and manufacture.1 Another reason why generic companies can keep prices down is because they spend less money on promoting and marketing their medicines.1

In 2009, a study conducted in South Africa assessed the potential savings that would be achievable by substituting generics for original medicines prescribed for chronic conditions.5 When compared to 80 original medicines, generic versions cost 19.5 % to 97 % less, which amounted to an average saving of 50 %.5

While the use of generics can lead to substantial cost savings, it is estimated that only approximately 45 % of original medicines are substituted for less expensive generics.4 Although pharmacists and dispensing doctors are compelled by law to offer patients a generic alternative for any medicine prescribed, the final choice still rests with the patient.4
Generic medicines must comply with the same controls and standards of quality, safety and efficacy as the original medicines.3 In South Africa, all generic medicines must be approved by the Medicines Control Council (MCC), in terms of the Medicines and Related Substances Control Act (101 of 1965).1,2 The MCC employs a team of scientists, doctors and pharmacists who check that the product adheres to the quality, safety and efficacy standards as the original medicine.1,2 Given the fact that use of generic medicines can lead to substantial cost savings, general practitioners, specialists and hospitals increasingly use generics as alternatives to higher-priced original medicines.3,4
In 2003, the generic substitution provision in the Medicines and Related Substance Control Act 101 of 1965 came into effect.4 This law compels pharmacists (and dispensing doctors) to offer patients a generic substitute for any medicine prescribed.1
When you present your pharmacist with a prescription:
  • The pharmacist is obliged to inform you of the benefits of substituting with a generic medicine7
  • You have the right to refuse to accept the substitution7
  • Should you accept the substitution, your pharmacist will dispense the generic medicine and take reasonable steps to inform the prescriber of the substitution7
The final choice to accept generic substitution rests with YOU.
  • If you decide not to accept the generic substitution7
  • If the prescriber has written in his or her own handwriting on the prescription the words "no substitution" next to the item prescribed (do not hesitate to discuss this with your doctor or pharmacist)7
  • If the generic medicine is more expensive than the original medicine (i.e. there is no cost saving to the patient)7
Speak to your healthcare professional about the effectiveness of generic medicines and how they can help you choose an affordable medicine.