Health and medicines are very sensitive subjects; and when it comes to these, everybody is extra cautious. We trust branded medicines and doctor-prescribed medicines without a second thought. On the other hand, generic medicines are often considered to be of low quality only because they come at a lower cost. And despite the very high costs of branded medicines, we prefer them. Is this right? Are we really following the right things? Do we know everything that we should know about generic medicines?
This article will be your guide to all the information, facts and myths about different types of medicines. This will give full clarity on frequently asked questions like “how to judge the quality of medicines?”, “are generic medicines safe or not?”, “do low prices of generic medicines mean that they are of poor quality?” and more.. Let’s get started:
Types of Medicines & All About 50-80% Discount on MedPlus Brand of Medicines
Medicines are of two types:
1. Patented Medicine, and
2. Generic Medicine
A patented medicine is the one made by its innovator who holds the rights over the particular medicine for a stipulated period of time. During this period, no other company can make this medicine. This scenario is rare in India.
All medicines which are not patented are generics. In other words, almost all the medicines that you buy are generics. A medicine becomes generic when the patent from it expires. When patent expires, any company can make it. And in India, numerous companies make the same medicine (after the expiry of patent) under different names. One important thing to note here is: Composition stays the same for all.
There are 3 types of generic medicines and further down, we will read and understand the basics of all of these:
I) Branded generics,
II) Trade generics and
III) Store generics.
Branded generics are the ones marketed (by companies) to doctors who in turn prescribes these to patients. Companies incur various marketing and distribution costs in the promotion of branded generics.
Trade generics are the ones marketed and sold by companies directly to pharmacy shops. These are sold at a lesser cost to pharmacies because the company that made them does not incur marketing cost. Pharmacies in turn suggest these as alternative to you when they don’t have the particular medicine prescribed by your doctor.
Store generics are medicines that are made and sold by a particular chain of pharmacy stores. These are also sold at a lesser cost due to the absence of any additional marketing and costs, because the medicines are sold directly by the company at its own stores. This practice is well established in the developed countries. For example, in the US large pharmacy chains like CVS and Walgreens have been successfully selling quality store generics.
The important thing to note here is that none is better over the other. All are of same quality. This takes us to another important aspect of the entire topic: If all are same, what is the most important factor that one should look at while buying a medicine.
The single most important factor is the manufacturing facility, the place where a medicine is manufactured. The process of manufacturing a medicine is very complex. Several steps and sub-steps are involved. Many intricate aspects have to fall in place to generate a proper and effective medicine. A good, certified manufacturing unit takes care of all these important factors.
In India, there are few manufacturing units where companies make their medicines, be it branded generic, trade generic or store generic.
So, there are two premises that we can derive:
1. Manufacturing facility is what to look for while buying a medicine.
2. Additional costs of marketing and distribution channel make medicines expensive.
At MedPlus, we make our own store generics. We make our brand of medicines at the same best facilities where other companies in the country make theirs. You can verify this yourself at your next visit to any of our stores. Simply pick up a medicine strip of MedPlus medicine and a strip of a same medicine from another company. You will see that both are manufactured at the same facility.
The only difference is that we are giving 50-80% discount on MedPlus brand of medicines. We can pass on this discount to our customers because we do not have any marketing and distribution channel cost.