Advertisement

Are generic drugs as safe as name-brand medications?

Anthony L. Komaroff, MD
Internal Medicine
Over the past several years, the FDA has found manufacturing problems at some of the factories that make generic medicines. The agency has also come under some criticism for not keeping up with inspections of the growing number of factories overseas that make generic drugs for the American market. We need a strong FDA to ensure that drugs are safe. But the problems are actually pretty rare, and there are, of course, lapses and quality-control issues at factories that make brand-name drugs, too. Odds are that there will be more problems identified with generics than with brand-name drugs, simply because there are so many more generic drugs manufactured.

I almost never prescribe brand-name products when a generic is available. I did have one exception last year, and it illustrates the need for doctors and insurers to be flexible. The patient used a patch placed on the skin that delivers clonidine, a medication that lowers blood pressure. We switched to a generic patch when it became available. But the generic patch just wouldn't stick to the skin, and the patient's blood pressure became notably higher. So I requested coverage for the brand-name patch, and it was approved by the insurer.

Continue Learning about Pharmacology

When Good Meds Do Bad Things
When Good Meds Do Bad Things
Running back Jerome “The Bus” Bettis played in the NFL for 13 seasons (a Super Bowl win with the Steelers) and landed in the Hall of Fame—all done whi...
Read More
What is the MDP Multidose Kit of Technetium Injection?
Stacy Wiegman, PharmDStacy Wiegman, PharmD
The MDP Multidose Kit of Technetium Injection is a set of 10 vials each containing medronic acid, st...
More Answers
Who should not use the MDP Multidose Kit of Technetium Injection?
Stacy Wiegman, PharmDStacy Wiegman, PharmD
Anyone with a known allergy to the ingredients in the MDP Multidose Kit of Technetium Injection (med...
More Answers
What are the Most Common Prescription Drugs That Cause Side Effects?
What are the Most Common Prescription Drugs That Cause Side Effects?

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.