Harvard Heart Letter

Generics as safe as brand-name drugs

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Don't be worried by occasional recalls, pharmacists say.

The December 2012 recall of generic atorvastatin pills manufactured by Ranbaxy, an FDA-licensed company in India, reignited concerns about the safety of generic medications. Although there were no reported injuries from small glass particles that found their way into the product, people taking the medication were understandably worried that the tablets might be dangerous. The incident underscored the fact that Americans are generally skeptical of generic medications, often viewing them as inferior to brand-name products.

John Fanikos, a pharmacist at Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women's Hospital, would like to put concerns to rest. "I am quite comfortable in taking generics myself and in dispensing them for patients in my hospital," he says.

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