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GENERIC MEDICINES

A brand name medicine is a medicine that's discovered, developed and marketed by a pharmaceutical company. When a new medicine is discovered, a pharmaceutical company will file for a patent to protect against other companies making copies and selling the medicine. 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

When it comes to efficacy and safety, 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

Generic medicines must comply with the same controls and standards of quality, safety and efficacy as the original medicines.2,3 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 same quality, safety and efficacy standards as the original medicine.1,2

Generic medicines are different in that they are usually cheaper! In fact general practitioners, specialists and hospitals increasingly use generics as alternatives to higher-priced original medicines.3,4 The reason why they are considerably less expensive than the original branded version is simply that there are no medicine development or marketing costs for the generic medicine company to recover.

The final choice to accept generic substitution rests with YOU. You have the right to choose!
In Summary:

  • Generic medicines are as safe and effective as their branded counterparts1,2
  • Generics offer you substantial cost savings without compromising on efficacy2,4
  • Generics provide you a cost saving and more efficient use of medical aid benefits2
  • Cost saving allows for more money to pay for other, more expensive treatments and services that you may require3
  • Generics offer you the opportunity to exercise your rights as a consumer2