Harvard Health Letter

Generic or brand-name drugs?

generic drugs brand name drugs
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Ask the doctor

Q. I would like to take generic drugs instead of brand-name drugs whenever possible, because they're cheaper. But are they really as effective?

A. First of all, generic drugs contain the exact same active ingredients as the brand-name versions. Second, in the United States, before approving a generic drug, the FDA must test it to be sure that the manufacturer has produced the same molecule, and that it achieves the same levels in the blood as the brand-name drug. Third, there have been many careful studies comparing generic drugs (once they have been approved) to their brand-name equivalents.

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