Generic And Branded Drugs: Are There Any Differences?

Generic and branded drugs can be prescribed to patients by medical experts and can be bought from pharmacies. However, it has been observed that most doctors prescribe branded medicines more than generic ones while most patients would prefer getting generic drugs because they might be cheaper.

To fully distinguish the differences between these two – if there are – you must know what they are in detail.

What Are Branded And Generic Drugs?

Branded drugs are drugs sold by pharmaceutical companies under specific trademarks. After developing a new drug, the parent company applies for a patent and is then allowed sole rights to manufacture and distribute the drug.

The patent prevents other companies from manufacturing copies of the drug for a certain period. This effectively allows the original producer to gain a good return on investment and profit from the invention.

When this patent expires, other firms can now manufacture and distribute copies of the original medicine, referred to as generic drugs. Often, the active elements in the brand name medications could be present in the generic version in similar quantity and type.

However, the inactive components may be a bit different, but they may not affect the efficiency of the drug. Also, the appearance, that is, the shape or colour of the medicine and the brand name, may differ from the branded version.

Healthcare facilities may source these medications from traditional pharmacies or outsourcing facilities. Click here for more details and learn more about this process.

Distinguishable Characteristics Between Generic And Brand Name Drugs

While branded medicines seem more trusted, the generics may be as effective and safe as the original drugs. It’s because the generics also go through various tests and examinations before receiving approval from regulatory officials – such as the United Kingdom’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).

The approval process ensures that generic drugs don’t compromise on quality and perform like the originals. This also forces manufacturers to make their products closely similar to branded versions in terms of strength, potency, and purity.

That being so, the two types of drugs differ in various characteristics. These include:

  1. The Inactive Ingredients

The active components in branded drugs are required to be present in the generic versions. However, inactive elements like fillers, preservatives, fatty acids, lactose, polymers, sweeteners, dyes, and others can vary. This difference doesn’t affect the drug’s performance but may change its appearance, texture, and taste. However, some inactive components may introduce various health threats to certain people.

These risks are related to intolerances and allergic reactions to particular inactive elements in the drugs. Inactive ingredients that cause intolerance may lead to bloating, gas, and diarrhoea. On the other hand, allergens may cause swelling, itching, dizziness, or difficulty in breathing. Hence, always countercheck on the label if a drug is harmful to you. Also, inform your clinician or pharmacist of your sensitivities while they administer medications to you. It’ll ensure that the recommended drugs serve their purpose and don’t cause further harm.

  1. Appearance

The colour, brand name, size, and shape of generic and branded drugs may differ. Trademark laws secure the original appearance of a drug. These regulations prevent duplication of such elements and require generic manufacturers to have their products looking otherwise.

The appearance can also be affected by the various inactive additives in the drugs. If you see such variations, it doesn’t mean the drug would be less effective.

  1. Cost

Before authorities like MHRA approve branded drugs, they often undergo numerous examinations and clinical tests before being released to the public. The entire procedure could be pretty expensive and time-consuming.

This operation identifies if the medicines effectively treat the conditions they claim to cure and if the treatments are safe for consumption. While this exercise makes them more trusted, it also makes branded remedies more costly. As time goes by, however, MHRA is continually developing procedures that can help make the process easier.

Contrarily, generics may recently be getting quicker approvals from MHRA This factor seems to make it easy for many companies to produce generic drugs.

Additionally, only one company distributes the branded drugs, which gives them the right to decide on price. On the other hand, multiple companies sell generic medicines. This situation causes competition, and therefore the firms may reduce costs to suit consumers and get the upper hand in terms of sales.


Branded and generic medications could both be effective in curing certain illnesses. They both go through various tests and evaluations to examine their effectiveness. However, the two may differ in cost. Branded drugs may be costly because the sole producer sets the price. On the other hand, generics may be cheaper due to competition. The appearance of the two may also vary due to the inactive ingredients used in production and law requirements.

Lastly, the inactive components in the two medicines may also be different. These elements could cause intolerance or allergic reactions to some people. Therefore, ensure you check the medicine label to identify if the drug is right for you.

Also, inform your medical expert about your intolerances, medical condition, and allergies. Ask them if the drug you’re going to take may trigger any adverse reactions. Additionally, talk to them before switching from generics to branded drugs or the other way round to avoid health complications.

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