Generic medicines have long played a pivotal role in healthcare systems worldwide. Known as off-patented drugs, generic medicines are bioequivalent to branded drugs in terms of dosage, strength, quality, form, effect, intended use, side effects and route of administration1. In the US, 9 out of 10 prescriptions given to patients are for generic medicines. Production of generic drugs in the US has also stepped up due to a rise in the prevalence of chronic diseases across the region, such as cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, and Parkinson’s disease which all require management with maintenance medicines.
In the Philippines, one of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s first pronouncements when he stepped into office was to ease the financial burden on people buying medicines for maintenance and other treatments. He said that if there are cheaper generic medicines in the market, prices will be lower because of competition2.
The President’s declaration is essentially the spirit of R.A. 6675 or the Generics Act of 1988 – an act to promote, require and ensure the production of an adequate supply, distribution, use and acceptance of drugs and medicines identified by their generic names.
One drugstore that has long supported this cause is Generika Drugstore— which has been making quality and affordable generic medicines and other healthcare essentials accessible to the Filipino market. It has also been taking an active role in expanding acceptance and utilization of generic medicines through various consumer education efforts, debunking myths that continue to persist. Here are some of them:
MYTH 1: Generic Medicines are not safe
THE TRUTH: Through the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), all medicines, whether branded or generic, go through a series of inspections and approval processes, usually taking around 60 days up to 6 months, to assure that these drugs are safe and of the highest quality. Likewise, the FDA regularly ensures that pharmaceutical products and establishments in the market comply with high-quality standards with good manufacturing practices.
MYTH 2: Generic medicines are not as effective as branded medicine
THE TRUTH: Generic medicines are as effective as branded medicines because both use the same active ingredient.
The Generics Act of 1988 defines active ingredients as the chemical component of medicines that is responsible for the therapeutic effect of any pharmaceutical product thus, emphasizing that the composition of both generic and branded products is equally potent and efficient. Apart from that, generic medicines are required to be the same as a brand-name medicine in dosage, safety, effectiveness, strength, stability, and quality, as well as in the way it is taken3.
MYTH 3: Generic Medicines are sold at low price because it is low-quality
THE TRUTH: Generic medicines undergo the same rigorous FDA approval process like branded medicines. They are, however, more affordable since they do not have to repeat the RND testing and clinical studies done by the originator brand.
No less than the World Health Organization (WHO) has given its support and approval in the promotion of generic medicines as a vital strategy to address challenges in affordability and accessibility to essential medicines4. For its part and for the longest time, Generika Drugstore has helped empower Filipino communities by making generic medicines readily available so patients are able to sustain their treatment regimen and complete their journey towards full recovery.