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June 11th, 2009
11:26 AM ET
soundoff (20 Responses)
  1. markp

    With all do respect to the DR. All of his fact checking is done thru the whitehouse spox.. or white house. gov.. Maybe the DR. could do some independent investigating. Even if it sounds unspeakable the democrats including the whitehouse could be misrepresenting the true facts...In order to be fair and objective you have to look further than the selling source...

    August 19, 2009 at 12:03 pm |
  2. darron

    Sorry to disappoint the good doctor but generics are not the same as brand meds. There can be different binders and this could cause different reactions and the feds do not require absolute equal amounts of active ingredient. As someone above stated the generics are allowed to vary by +/- 20%. With patches the same adhesive is not required and there can be a reaction to the generic adhesive. the public just cannot accept what the pharm industry states along with what the NIH also states. I'm an RN and my sig. other is a provider.

    August 14, 2009 at 11:33 pm |
  3. Pat

    I took name brand Lopressor for years. When I finally got Medicare, the generic was covered, the name brand was discounted but still expensive so I tried the generic. It requires twice the amount to control my blood pressure. I continue to take the generic because I fear if I am ever hospitalized, I will not be able to require the name brand and the change effectively would cut my dosage in half which could be fatal. I am almost sure a hospital would dispense generic rather than name brand and I might be too sick to notice.

    August 1, 2009 at 8:20 am |
  4. Teri

    There is a HUGE difference between Wellbutrin and it's generic form. When a generic became available, my copay for the Wellbutrin went to $80/month. So, I tried the generic. Night and day. It didn't work at all. I've always used generics when available and will continue to do so in most cases, but not with that particular drug.

    July 24, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  5. Jack

    Generics are allowed by law to vary in potency by +/-20%. Brand name drugs are more tightly regulated. (I believe less than 5% variance, but don’t quote me.) The active ingredient is required to be identical. But if you are on a long term medication and your pharmacy fills it with a generic from a source that is 20% less than the brand name and next month the generic is 20% more than the band name, you medication has just changed enourmously. Think about that if you’re on heart meds or anti-depressants.

    July 23, 2009 at 12:50 pm |
  6. laurel CA

    Since medication, in general, is dangerous; regulation should be very strict. Generics should be identical to the name brand period. patient blood levels should be checked, before release on the general market, and the drugs should pass very strict tests that they do indeed behave like the brand.

    Also, research and development are not a factor in price, according to two economists lecturing at UCLA. While testing may be more expensive, price is adjustable, far more adjustable than people realize, and the profits of big pharma are huge. Why have generics if the manufacturer can sell their drugs at a lower price, the same as generics, for the life of the drug? Or, reduce the time of the patents, have price control, and see if big pharma reduces it's prices without competition from inferior manufacturing. We just care about cost and expect the product does what is advertised. If generics can do so at a lower price without compromising quality, so can big pharma which has larger facilities and better manufacturing. That is the best evidence that generics do not preform as well as brand name, big pharma would do this with their own product if lower prices are viable. It seems that big pharma overcharges to make money while still on patent, then sells at very high prices for those few who can afford a superior drug (if it is superior). Solve the problem by allowing a reasonable profit (which is much lower since big pharma makes huge profits compared to other companies) and give them exclusive rights for longer periods of time.

    July 23, 2009 at 12:09 pm |
  7. Daina Grossi

    I am wanting to know if anybody has experienced any problems with generic brands of Aurorix.I had been taking this medication for approx a year then decided to start taking the generic brands as depending which chemist I went to there was more than one generic brand.I have since noticed a steady decline in my mood even though there has not been any other outside influences to have made this suddenly happen,is it possible?

    July 17, 2009 at 10:30 pm |
  8. Larry

    It depends on the manufacturing company, Doc.

    The Waxman-Hatch bill (in the'80's) allowed for fast track approval of drugs that had come off patent. Basically, all the generic manufacturers had to do was what's called a bio-availability test (it's a test for levels of active ingredient in the bloodstream).

    But the generic manufactuers have to display the same ethics and quality standards that the original manufacturer did to get the same results.

    There was a drive on that even inactive ingredients were to be purchased from the same vendors as the original drugs, but that got into monopoly and trust issues, etc., specifying only certain suppliers could supply ingredients.

    Generics should work every bit as good as brand name drugs, if the rules and regulations are followed they will.

    Not all generic companies followed the laws, and that led to the generic scandal of the late '80's early '90's. Generic companies were cutting corners to make fast money (one company was caught not putting active ingredient in their tablets). The brand name manufacturer was putting millions into drug development and quality manufacturing standards; the generics were setting up manufacturing facilities in leaky warehouses and raking in the money.

    Depends on the ethics of the generic company.

    July 16, 2009 at 6:04 pm |
  9. Dee

    The variable between a non-generic prescription med (vs. generic) was most certainly noticeable (condition as a result of a blood clot removal from left temporal lobe). I had very significant concerns that the generic would not play as effective a role than the non-generic med prescribed and feared it would hamper my medical recovery.

    Interestingly enough, years later... my mother (who had no knowledge I was prescribed generic meds) complained about the recognizable difference of the generic vs. non-generic meds prescribed to her for her heart condition (open-heart surgery + pacemaker). It causes us great concern that such a difference can be so recognizable yet drs continue to prescribe such.

    June 30, 2009 at 2:26 am |
  10. Anthony Rodriguez

    I find it easiest to mix them all with alcohol. It really takes the work out of the binders and helps get into those hard to reach places.

    June 18, 2009 at 1:17 pm |
  11. Steven

    Generics are definitely useful for many patients as it helps keep their medication costs down. However in many cases the fillers and vehicle used to stabilize the active ingredient and transport the active ingredient around the body is a different composition from the Brand name formula. This different formulation, typically allows the generic to be cheaper. Pharmacists trying to help patients are correct in saying the main ingredient to look for is the active ingredient, as this is the compound that gives the medication its effect, but they do not always consider the other compounds in the medication. If you have any questions, ask your doctor and raise questions about your medications. Why do you have to take the name brand versus generic? Has the doctor noticed any differences between the two?

    June 18, 2009 at 1:09 pm |
  12. Ellen

    When my doctor first prescribed a cholesterol medication, I was put on Zocor. At the time, my insurance company offered the brand name version for less than the generic. Blood work came back good. But then the contract between my health insurance company and Merck changed, and I started taking the generic version of the medication. Then my blood work came back not so good. We ended up changing to another medication.

    I had a similar instance with prescription medication I purchased at the drug store for my cat. When I gave her the brand name version of a particular medication, she was stabilized. But when I tried giving her the generic version of the same medication, I had to rush her to the vet's office every week. Finally, I insisted that I only be given brand name meds for her.

    Cost dictates that I continue to take some generics for myself, but I am never completely comfortable with it.

    June 18, 2009 at 12:54 pm |
  13. Charles Scott

    I am not a Dr. but have taken many generic and brand named pharmaceuticals. There is a great difference between the two (in addition to price). You do not have the quality control standard in the generics. Yes, you will get the same amount of active ingredient as in the brand name but the binders and other non-active components can dramatically change how and when the prescribed medicine enters the bloodstream. It is for this reason dilantin (for seizures) and other potentially life-saving drugs are rarely prescribed generically.
    On the other hand thyroid meds and muscle relaxants are made by many more companies as there is less monitoring and most probably are being made outside the United States (cheaper labor,overhead,etc.).
    To be more specific,if a Dr. puts you on levothyroxine, then the pharmacist recommends that you stick with the same mfg.
    Another example would be diazepan which is manufactured by dozens of companies. Sometimes a generic will be as effective as those made by Roche and other times they don't seem to work at all. The ones found in nursing homes and VA hospitals are likely to be found in the later of the two(cost).For example,if a 10mg. valium is not even blue (green for instance) then that's not a good sign. Another example would be if the pill is soft and comes apart too easily or if it is too hard and practically can not be broken in half where it's scored. At least this is my experience.You also have to keep in mind that each persons body experience (metabolism,etc.) is different. Of course,use only as directed by your physician.

    June 16, 2009 at 3:23 pm |
  14. mimi

    Lanna Neal is right about the antidepressants. The same thing happened to me. I was given the generic under penalty of asking for the brand. The generic was not formulated the same and instead of my usual dose I had to increase it to 3/4 of a tablet. Proof positive that they are not formulated the same even though the pharmacists and physicians deny it.

    June 16, 2009 at 2:38 pm |
  15. oscar

    Its a good thing that generics is available to control the prices of medicines. But people are correct to say that they should be monitored and regulated properly – alot of fake drugs that are being circullated in Asian countries that are either fake or have such poor standards, that its effect doesn't last.

    June 16, 2009 at 12:47 pm |
  16. jo

    Its all probably in the head.

    June 12, 2009 at 2:23 pm |
  17. Lanna Neal

    I have taken a Brand name antidepressant for years, and it saved my life. Recently its patent went to a different manufacturer and I can only recieve the generic. Spoke to my doctor and expressed I could guarantee him, the generic does not have the same beneficial results. If you want to try and research pharmacies that do supply the Brand name drug, sometimes one can find the "real" drug.
    Consumers should have a choice, even if we do have to pay more for the Brand name drug. If it wasn't broken, why fix it? Generics are less money, however when one is dealling with an antidepressant I know works, I would pay extra for the REAL drug. Also discovered in my research huge amounts of United States drugs come from overseas. Lack appropriate oversite because FDA doesn't have enough inspectors??? That is a real comfort, even though the FDA gives many drugs their AB rating. This entire generic situation should have some United States oversight. Dr. Gupta should share what we all know, who have to take generics when we know they ARE different.

    June 12, 2009 at 2:13 pm |
  18. Peter

    The one difference that Dr Gupta did not mention about generics is the quatity of active ingredeiants can very more than in a non-generic medication.

    June 11, 2009 at 2:29 pm |
  19. kavin shah


    June 11, 2009 at 11:28 am |