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SPMC: Inexpensive generic drugs are no less effective than branded ones

GENERIC drugs are as effective as more costly branded medicines, so people should not be wary about buying them, the Southern Philippines Medical Center (SPMC) Pharmacy Section said.

SPMC Clinical Pharmacist II Anjelie Noble Asis said generic drugs work the same regardless of being way cheaper and provide the same clinical benefits as their brand-name counterparts as they are made exactly from the same active ingredient.

“The branded ones are the developers of the drugs and it takes 15 years to develop drugs, so it will be really costly,” Asis said.

“The generic counterparts, they no longer need to undergo that process so the cost it takes to develop a drug hindi na magiging problema ng manufacturers of the generic ones,” she added.

Asis said labeling generics as ineffective is a myth. For instance, before these drugs are approved for commercial marketing, they undergo bioequivalence tests to determine if the potential generic version shares common attributes with branded medicines.

In the pharmacy section of SPMC, Asis said they advise physicians to use generic terminologies in their prescriptions. Pharmacists are encouraged to urge the public to use generic drugs.

“The labeling of our drugs as you can see the generic name of the drug is highlighted in the box whereas the brand names are not as conspicuous as the generic names,” Asis said.

However, as much as they encourage the public to switch to generic ones, Asis said patients still have the liberty to choose which to buy. Physicians are also advised to not write the label  “no substitution” on the prescription and leave their patients to decide.

The pharmacist revealed that not all drugs have generic counterparts, due to other branded drugs being protected by patents. The patents serve as the ownership of the manufacturer to exclusively produce their products in the market.

Buying generic drugs in sari-sari stores is highly discouraged as they can pose adverse effects to patients as this does not assure efficacy and the quality is affected due to storage concerns.

The pharmacist advised the public to purchase generic drugs in Food and Drug Administration-licensed pharmacy outlets.

SPMC under the Department of Health (DOH) observes Generics Awareness Month every September in accordance with RA No. 6675, or the “Generics Act of 1988”. “Kalusugan ay Palakasin, Generics ay Tangkilikin” is this year’s theme.


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