Why the Bad Rap on Generic Drugs? (New York Times)

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IN an episode of “Orange Is the New Black,” the Netflix series set inside a federal prison, a journalist rattles off a series of budget cuts that are making life difficult for the inmates. Closing the running track. Canceling G.E.D. classes. And switching to generic drugs.

It’s been nearly 30 years since Congress kick-started the generic drug industry by passing the Hatch-Waxman Act, the 1984 law that made it easier for pharmaceutical companies to sell copycat pills as long as they could prove the drugs were identical to the brand-name versions. Today, the Food and Drug Administration and nearly every other major health authority agree that generic drugs are safe and effective. Indeed, 84 percent of all prescriptions in the United States were dispensed as generics last year, and in many states pharmacists are required to dispense the generic version of a drug unless a doctor specifies otherwise.

The reason, from a public health perspective, is clear: Many generic drugs cost pennies per pill, yet pack the same punch as brand-name medicines.

So why can’t they get more respect?  Continue reading at http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/06/sunday-review/why-the-bad-rap-on-generic-drugs.html?hp

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