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SPMC: Generic drugs are as effective as ‘branded’

DAVAO CITY (PIA) -- “Generics drugs are made the same as the branded ones, thus also effective,” a clinical pharmacist said.

Southern Philippines Medical Center (SPMC) Clinical Pharmacist Anjelie Noble Asis reiterated this during the PIA Kapehan sa Dabaw at SM City Davao on September 25 amidst the popular and misleading sentiments that generic drugs are less effective, as they are inexpensive.

“Generic drugs are made to be exactly like their branded counterparts. It is in fact the same as the branded ones, making them much alike in terms of effectiveness,” she said.

She added that aside from having the same effectivity, generic drugs are much more economical, as they are inexpensive compared to their branded counterparts. 

Asis explained that the price gap between the branded drug and its generic counterpart is due to the rigorous processes, years of clinical research and trials, and a huge amount of resources exerted by a developer or manufacturing company to develop a certain drug.

She said that once a developed drug is approved for medical use, the developer or the manufacturing company that developed it has special privileges in production and marketing, such as having the rights to solely manufacture 

Anjelie Noble Asis, a clinical pharmacist from SPMC, emphasizes that generic drugs as effective as their branded counterparts.

and produce it for about 20 years before other manufacturers can produce it or before its generic counterparts will be produced.

She added, “It takes about 15 years to develop a drug, so it would be really costly. (Unlike) the generic counterparts that no longer need to undergo that process, thus making production costs among generic drugs lower.”

Asis emphasized that there is no significant difference between branded and generic drugs, noting that “generic drugs, before they are approved for marketing, they have to be bioequivalent, meaning they have to pass a series of tests that say that these generic drugs have the same amount and the same content of the active ingredients the same as the branded ones.”

In observance of this year's Generics Awareness Month, the Department of Health, in partnership with various medical institutions across the country, conducts a series of information drives to educate and encourage the public to buy generic drugs instead of the branded ones that are expensive. (Photo courtesy of DOH)

Not all drugs have generic counterparts of branded drugs, especially those that were recently developed, she said.

Meanwhile, Asis shared that as part of their campaign in observance of Generics Awareness Month in September, they are consistently encouraging the public to ask for the generic counterpart of a branded drug.

Physicians, on the other hand, are encouraged to use the generic terminologies of the medications in their prescriptions, while pharmacies are urged to promote the generic drugs among their customers.

For instance, Asis said that in the SPMC, all physicians use the generic terminologies of the medications in their prescriptions, and the pharmacy in the medical institution is also distributing generic drugs in compliance with  Republic Act No. 6675, or the Generics Act of 1988.

The Generics Act mandates the use of generic terminology in the importation, manufacture, distribution, marketing, advertising and promotion, prescription, and dispensing of drugs.

Asis said that most local pharmacies and physicians have been supporting their campaign by encouraging their patients and customers to use generic drugs, emphasizing that "these drugs, although these are inexpensive, are also effective."

She added that, as part of the promotion of generic drugs, the government has mandated to highlight the generic name of the drug on its packaging over its brand name.

She also advised the public to only buy generic drugs in FDI-licensed pharmacies to avoid buying fake ones. (ASO/JBG/PIA-XI, Thumbnail photo from DOH)

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