Facts About Generics
Get the facts on generic medicines - the safe, effective, and affordable alternative to brand-name products!
Q. Are generic drugs approved by the FDA?
A. When patents expire on brand-name medicines, generic manufacturers can request and receive FDA approval to manufacture and sell a generic version of the medicine.
The generic version must meet strict FDA standards for purity and quality and show bioequivalence. That means the drug must work the same way the brand-name product does and contain exactly the same active or key ingredients. It may only vary in appearance, flavor, or some of the inactive ingredients.
Q. Are generic drugs as safe as brand-name drugs?
A. Yes! Most reported side effects generally describe a known reaction to a drug's active ingredient, which is found in both brand-name and generic versions of the medication.4 The FDA reviews the safety of both brand and generic prescription drugs before they are approved to market and continues to monitor safety when the medications are available to patients.5
Q. Are all generic drug manufacturers the same?
A. No two companies are exactly the same. While all pharmaceutical companies - including generic drug manufacturers - must follow the same FDA regulations and undergo regular FDA inspections, differences between companies can be seen in their efficiencies and in their investment in quality, manufacturing, and research and development processes. Companies can be large or small in size, have many or very few years of experience, and offer a wide variety or only a small line of medications.
Teva is the largest manufacturer of generic drugs in the world and supplies one out of every six generic prescriptions filled in the United States.11 With more than 100 years of experience, Teva is committed not only to meeting FDA standards, but to exceeding them, and providing affordable and quality medications.
Q. Where are generics manufactured?
A. Generic prescription medications are manufactured in modern facilities that are required to meet the same FDA standards of good manufacturing practices as brand-name medications. All manufacturing facilities are inspected by the FDA to ensure these practices are followed.5
Q. I have a brand-name product, so how will I know the generic name?
A. Actually, all brand-name drugs have a generic name. The generic name often appears next to the brand name and is the active ingredient in the medication. There are a few unique cases where the generic medicine may also have another name besides the active ingredient. Ask your pharmacist if you have any questions.
Q. Will a generic medicine look like its brand-name equivalent?
A. Probably not. That's because the appearance of a brand-name drug is trademarked by the original manufacturer, so the generic product might have to be a different shape or color. But, the active or key ingredients must be identical.5
Q. If I have a prescription for a brand-name drug, can I get a generic equivalent at my pharmacy?
A. If a doctor has prescribed a medicine by its brand name and a generic equivalent is available, the pharmacist is usually allowed to give you the generic instead. However, in most states, a doctor can say that he or she does not wish to have the brand name replaced with a generic. That's why it's important to tell your healthcare professional that you're interested in saving money with generics.
Check to see if Teva manufactures your brand-name medication as a cost-saving generic. If Teva does not make your generic yet, sign up to receive an alert when we do.
Q. Is there more than one generic medication available for a brand-name product?
A. It's possible. Several generic companies may manufacture a generic equivalent. Some patients feel more comfortable choosing a generic by a company they trust. Our Products page lists all medications available through Teva.
Q. How can I find out when a generic becomes available for my brand-name medication?
A. Just sign up to receive Teva's Smart-Health® Insight, and we will automatically notify you when new generics become available from Teva. You will also receive important health updates and sound, common-sense tips for safeguarding your family's health.
Q. Why do generics cost less than brand-name products?
A. Generic medicines get to "piggyback" on scientific research and clinical trials that have already been done by their branded counterparts. Since the FDA has already determined that the medicine is safe and effective, generic manufacturers need to demonstrate that the generic medication has the exact chemical equivalent as the brand and that it will work the same way in the body - which is a great deal less expensive to do. Plus, generic manufacturers do not need to roll expensive advertising and marketing costs into the price of the medicine.4
Q. Where can I find more information on generic drugs?
A. Please find below several helpful resources that can provide additional information on generic drugs:
- http://www.Smart Health - Teva's site designed exclusively for patients. You'll find health tips including information about money-saving generics.
- U.S. Food and Drug Administration, U.S. Department of Health & Human Services
- Generic Pharmaceutical Association
4 U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Understanding generic drugs: facts and myths about generic drugs. Updated: October 13, 2009. Accessed December 30, 2010.
5 U.S. Food and Drug Administration. You know the questions that go through your mind when you take your generic drug? Here are the answers. DHHS Publication No. (FDA) 02-3243. Accessed December 15, 2010.
11 IMS Health NPA Data, MAT December 2011, Teva Data on File