Generic v. name-brand drugs

Generic v. name-brand drugs
February 12 01:00 2015

8 On Your Side: Generic v. name-brand drugs

Generic drugs save customers approximately $200 billion a year, but are they just like the name brands?

Gina Pera, a journalist and ADHD watchdog, spoke with 8 On Your Side about generic drugs.

Thousands have shared their experiences with her about two generic forms of a drug called Concerta.

“Here is one from a surgeon. He didn’t know what was happening. His doctor assured him the bioequivalence was the same,” she said.

It turns out, it wasn’t. Bioequivalence means two drugs are similar, but not identical. The difference can be huge.

There may be 80 percent of an active ingredient or more, such as 120 percent. That’s a problem that begs the question, “Are these drugs safe?”

Psychiatrist Dr. Michael Madow says generic drugs are generally safe. If you don’t respond well to them, getting name brand medication can be tough, because the insurance companies don’t want to pay. Your doctor can help get you name brand drugs.

“If necessary, write on the prescription, ‘Dispense as written,’” Madow said.

If you have a bad reaction to a generic drug, you should speak up quickly and loudly until you are heard.

The FDA in 2014 downgraded the generic forms of Concerta, but they were on the market for more than a year.

This isn’t the first time the FDA has found a problem with a generic drug. Several years ago, the agency found problems with generic versions of Wellbutrin.

Some people have fears that generic drugs for sleep, depression, epilepsy and blood pressure could cause issues.

So far, the FDA is not investigating other generic drugs.

Read full story at KLAS-TV
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