Submitted by Georgie Porgie on request from BU in light of the current debate around generic and brand name drugs
Every drug has a generic or chemical name, which often tells us some thing about the chemistry of the drug. In addition, the generic name of a drug allows physicians, pharmacologists and other health professionals to have a universal nomenclature for a specific chemical formulation. For example paracetamol, or acetamenophen is the name of a commonly used non steroidal anti inflammatory drug.
A generic or chemical name allows us to identify a particular chemical compound anywhere we go in the world.
Generic names are used universally and allow for international discussion on pharmaceuticals.
GENERALLY WE DISCUSS DRUGS BY THEIR GENERIC OR CHEMICAL NAMES
Drugs also have Proprietary or brand name(s). This is a name or identification given by drug manufacturers to isolate their product from other similar chemical formulations. A Proprietary or brand name is a name used to sell, prevent copying and label drugs.” For example in the Caribbean and British Commonwealth, paracetamol (acetamenophen) is available as Calpol, Panadol, Cetamol, Paramol. In the USA, acetamenophen is marketed as Tylenol among others.
One can l pick up information on proprietary or brand names for your area when you see visiting drug representatives, and in publications like MIMS, or Physicians Desk Reference etc. It is not easy to keep up with all the brand names of a particular drug but it is helpful to be aware of those that are available in one”s community, state, country etc. as is most relevant to you.
BRAND NAME DRUGS are SIMILAR OR THE SAME AS GENERIC DRUGS IN THE SENSE THAT THEY OUGHT TO/CONTAIN THE SAME CHEMICAL SUBSTANCE.
HOWEVER, BRAND NAME DRUGS are different from GENERIC DRUGS DEPENDING ON THE FIRM THAT MAKES THE GENERIC DRUG
SOME TOP NOTCH FIRMS MAY MAKE THEIR DRUG AND SELL IT TO OTHER FIRMS IN BULK AS A GENERIC FOR REPACKAGING AFTER THEY HAVE LOST THEIR PATENT.
YOU CAN THEREFORE GET THE SAME DRUG VERY CHEAPLY FROM A BRAND NAME FIRM MARKETED UNDER A DIFFERENT NAME OR FROM ONE OF ITS SUBSIDIARIES OR A FIRM THAT BUYS GENERICS FOR REPACKAGING
However, there are a number of companies that make generic drugs that are way below standard, with respect to how they are pressed or formatted/formulated. For example when the Drug Service began in 1980 many of our hypertensive patients on the island who were controlled on MSD’s brand name drug ALDOMET (generic name methydopa) went out of control when we started using the cheaper methyldopa from CARLISLE.
A popular generic firm used by the Barbados Drug Service (BDS) is Biochemie from Italy or Apo from Canada………not too good in my estimation. At the same time most brand name drugs are over priced as the firms that made them seek to recoup their costs.