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General Health : Drug News Last Updated: Apr 20, 2011 - 9:38:09 AM

Generic drugs as effective as their brand name counterparts
By Sue Mueller
Dec 4, 2008 - 7:51:20 AM

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Thursday Dec 4, 2008 ( -- A study found that brand-name drugs are no more effective than their generic counterparts; at least this is the case for the drugs indicated to treat heart and other cardiovascular diseases.

The study led by Dr. Aaron Kesselheim of Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston and colleagues reviewed results of 30 studies published since 1984 to see if there is any difference in the efficacy of brand-name drugs and generic drugs.

The studied drugs included beta-blockers, diuretics, calcium-channel blockers, statins, antiplatelet agents, ACE inhibitors, alpha-blockers, anti-arrhythmic agents, and warfarin.

In their report published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, the researchers said there was no evidence to support the notion that brand-name drugs work better than their generic counterparts.

The researchers said drug manufacturers claimed that brand-name drugs were superior to the generic ones and even editorialists for some medical journals questioned whether generic drugs were as good.

In the United States, generic drugs are only manufactured after their patents expire and sales of these generic drugs need to get approved by the FDA. This means that the quality of generic drugs is not inferior to that of their brand-name counterparts.

Generic drugs are much cheaper. In the U.S., generic drugs account for 66 percent of the total prescriptions, but only cost less than 15 percent of the money spent on prescription drugs, according to the Generic Pharmaceutical Association industry group, cited by Reuters.

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