Life Style

The Difference Between Generic Medicines and Brand-Name Medicines

We’ve all been in that situation where we’re hunting for the medicine that we need but there’s a handful of options. This leaves us confused as to what we’re looking for: does more expensive mean more effective? Do all these types of medicine do the same thing? Can I take this on top of other medicines?

Your health is one thing that you don’t want to be uncertain about, so you need to be clear on what’s what.

What Are Generic Medicines?

A generic medicine is typically named after the active ingredient that treats the illness at hand. They tend to be packaged in a plain box that merely states the medicine name without artistic pharmaceutical printing.

As with all medications, generic medicine can’t be released onto the market until they’ve been approved by a higher pharmaceutical authority. They are approved for their quality, safety, and efficacy.

What Are Brand-Name Medicines?

A brand-name medicine is one that has been created by a pharmaceutical company with a coined name. Once their drug has been granted a license, no one else can market that medicine under the same name. For example, Nurofen is a brand-name medicine, whereas ibuprofen is the generic alternative to this.

Why Are Generic Medicines Cheaper?

Quite simply, generic medicines are cheaper since they’re not paying for a patent. Brand-name medicines need to pay for copyright, advertising, and branding, whereas generic medicines simply have to pay for the development of the product.

Therefore, the cost of the medicine doesn’t equate to its effectiveness; supermarket ibuprofen will work just as well as Nurofen. When buying brand-name medicines, you’re paying for the packaging, as opposed to what’s inside.

What is the Difference?

You’d be forgiven for thinking that the only differences between generic and brand-name medicines are their name, cost, and packaging. Despite this, the divergence between the two is slightly more complex.

Though it’s true that both medicines contain the same active ingredient that tackles your illness, each version contains different inactive ingredients. For example, the coloring, flavoring, and sugar content may differ between generic medicines and brand-name medicines. Typically, this won’t affect how the drug functions in your body, regardless of the noticeable differences in size, color, and shape.

Despite this, some medicines do require a patient to stick to a certain brand as the rate at which tablets dissolve into the bloodstream can differ between types. For example, the same brand of anti-epileptic drugs needs to be prescribed to patients to ensure treatment efficacy.

Additionally, generic medicines don’t just differ in appearance from brand-name medicines, they differ from other types of generic medicine. Depending on where you purchase your medicine, the appearance will differ. This isn’t cause for concern as the active ingredient will still do its job, but the inactive ingredients alter the appearance of the tablet or capsule.

The Generic Name vs the Brand Name

Some common medicines have a long list of brand names, these include:

Ibuprofen, which is commonly branded as Anadin, Brufen, Calprofen, Cuprofen, Fenpaed, Ibucalm, Mandafen, and Nurofen.

Paracetamol, which is sold under the brand names Tylenol, Excedrin, Calpol, and Panadol.

Aspirin, which is branded as Caprin, Disprin, and Nu-Seals Resprin.


All in all, generic medicines and branded equivalents each contain the same active ingredient, meaning that spending more money on medication won’t give you a more effective result. Non-active ingredients are what create a difference between medicine types, but this doesn’t affect how they perform in your body.

In certain cases, you’ll require the same brand of medicine each time, but this will be communicated to you and prescribed to you by your doctor.

Atif Mallo

Atif Mallo is a freelance blogger with huge interest in technology, science, life hacks and health. He loves coffee, cheesecake and chess. Drop a line in comments to leave feedback for him.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Back to top button