Difference between Generic and Brand Name Drugs

Published on September 8, 2015

When we are sick or feeling ill, doctors give us prescriptions of drugs that we take to get better. More often than not, there are two names written on the packaging: a generic name and a brand name. This article will discuss the difference between the two.

Definitions

Generic Name vs Brand Name Drugs

The Generic name is sometimes referred to as a generic drug or simply generics. It is defined as a drug sold in the market under its chemical name or chemical makeup. These drugs are manufactured to contain equal or very similar amounts of active ingredient as the original formulation. Thus, generic drugs have the same dose, strength, route of administration, safety, efficacy, and intended use. For example “diazepam” which is a sedative; this is the generic name. The US Food and Drug Administration states that the generic name is equivalent to its branded counterpart. Generic drugs are also more affordable compared to their branded counterparts.

The Brand name on the other hand is the advertised name of the drug sold by certain pharmaceutical companies. In the earlier example, the generic name for “diazepam” has branded counterparts such as Valium or Vazepam.

Comparison Chart

Generic Name DrugsBrand Name Drugs
Sold in the market under its chemical name or chemical makeupSold in the market under an advertised name by a pharmaceutical company
Sold at a lower priceSold at a higher price

Generic Name vs Brand Name Drugs

What is the difference between generic name and brand name? Let us compare them in terms of name and price.

  • The primary difference between generic and branded name of a drug is the name under which it is sold. Generic drugs are sold in the market under their chemical name or chemical makeup. Branded names are sold in the market under an advertised name determined by a pharmaceutical company. Take for example, ibuprofen which is used to treat pain and inflammation. Ibuprofen is the generic name. It is sold under different branded names like Nurofen and Hedex by the pharmaceutical companies Boots and Tesco. Brand names may vary from country to country.
  • Patients tend to be sceptical about generic drugs because of the lower price compared to their branded counterparts. But these drugs (generic and branded) are very similar in terms of active ingredient, dose, strength, route of administration, safety, efficacy, and intended use. The reason why branded drugs are more expensive is the expenditure made by pharmaceutical companies in the development, marketing, and promotion of the said drug.

Video

The following video could help you better understand the difference between generic and branded drugs: