Why do generic drugs cost so much less than brand-name drugs?

Generic drugs cost less than brand name drugs because the manufacturer didn't have to spend many years -- and lots of money -- creating it. Generic drugs are copies of brand name drugs that have already been through the expensive process of research and development before being approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. A brand-name drug is protected by a patent and is marketed under the manufacturer's brand name.

After a number of years the patent expires, and generic drug manufacturers can begin making and selling copies of the brand-name drug under a generic name. Generic drug manufacturers are able to sell their products for lower prices, not because the products are of lesser quality, but because generic manufacturers generally do not have to pay for the costs of research and development, marketing and promotion.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.