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Saturday, September 14, 2013

Can Generic Medications Stay Less Costly Than Branded Medications?

It's often easy to decide why a particular purse, or pair of shoes, or even dress is significantly more costly than it's more affordable similar style. But when it comes to getting a generic medication, like your birth control pill, or diabetes medication; it's a lot less apparent, and with potentially more at stake than being the best dressed, why the cost should vary so greatly. Sometimes it's obvious that the packaging is less sophisticated, it's also often clear that the medication itself may not be labeled with a a fancy stamp, or occasionally it's just that it's not time release. Those differences seem reasonable for cost differences between generic medications and the branded products
. But what is less know is the dosage may be a bit less well controlled. And it's also perhaps not as closely monitored for safety in what a Sept 11, 2013 JAMA editorial called less responsibility for 'pharmacovigilance'. The brand name drug has a defined set of responsibilities to report new safety findings, and the generics do not. Closer monitoring of generics, much like brand products is a goal of the future. But the funding for this will have to come though some fees. If generic drugs are to remain as safe as the branded products, then their costs may have to be more similar.

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