In conventional drugstores, a problem arises. The array of cheap drugs disappear from the assortment. It becomes simply not profitable for drugstores to sell cheap meds. It is also not beneficial for pharmaceutical companies to produce them. Indeed, most of them are included in the list of Vital and Essential Drugs, the price limits for which are set by the state and which, in fact, have been frozen for many years. This measure worked well while the economic situation was stable. Nowadays, the prime cost of many drugs has increased significantly, but the retail price has not changed. As a result, manufacturers have to abandon their release. Pharmacies are forced to replace them with more expensive drugs. Drug manufacturing is a business, its leaders are not obliged to do charity work.
After all, it is also unprofitable for them to work with cheap drugs. There are practically no clearly defined social obligations. A small control is carried out over the presence of a minimum list of about 50-60 items. But here, you can always find a way out. One package is enough for an audit examination, but for the general public, the retail price is completely different.
According to drugstores, expensive drugs make pharmacies almost half of the proceeds. It is clear that most of them are trying to sell the medications which have marketing contracts. That is, agreements with pharmaceutical companies to lobby for a particular drug manufacturer. Often, these agreements include a condition to limit the sales of competitors’ medications. For this, pharmacies receive bonuses. The more expensive the medication, the higher the bonus.
Online pharmacies – a source of cheap meds
Buying meds online you can save from 10% to 25% of the cost of the medication. The difference in price, as in the case of online stores, is achieved by reducing costs, primarily for rental premises. Online pharmacies in the USA are still legal facilities: the delivery of medical products is approved by law, so the customer may order home or PO delivery. It reduces the efforts made by people visiting conventional drugstores with expensive medications in the assortment.
The advantages of the online trading format are obvious. Now almost every drugstore has its own website on which you can freely order the necessary means or compare its rates. By the way, prices in different pharmacies even of the same company can vary significantly.
So if you used to buy a specific branded drug and do not intend to buy its analog, it makes sense, at least without leaving your home, to compare the cost of the medicine on different online pharmacies and find the most affordable one.
Cheap meds – generics: 5 questions and answers
What are generics?
Generics are drugs containing the same active substance as the original one but produced under a different branded name. Any medicine does not work on its own, but thanks to the active substance. It has the right effect on the body (for example, it may reduce pressure).
A drug-containing an innovative active substance is usually called original. The medicine that first appeared on the market has no analogs and is protected by a patent. But after 20 years, patent protection expires. As a result, any pharmaceutical company can produce drugs with the same active ingredient known as generics.
On the one hand, the same drugs with different names will confuse people. On the other hand, the production of generics deprives of a monopoly in the pharmaceutical market. It forces manufacturers to lower drug prices over time.
Why are generics so cheap?
The generics are cheap because the release of generics is much cheaper than the brand-name medication. First, the manufacturer of the branded drug should create a working formula. Then conduct clinical trials to confirm whether the new medicine is really effective.
Then, the time for laboratory and clinical trials comes. First, the drug is tested on:
- laboratory animals;
- healthy volunteers;
- sick people.
Such tests take years and are very expensive.
The company manufacturing the generic formula receives prepared formula – proven, effective and safe. Since it is no longer necessary to spend money on testing in the production of generics, the company can afford to reduce the price without decreasing the drug quality.
When writing out a prescription, the doctor does not specify the name that the manufacturing company came up with for this drug. Instead, the doctor uses the International Nonproprietary Name (INN), which was specially invented to combine all drugs that contain the same active ingredient.
Are generics have the same effect?
The state strictly monitors the safety of medications. Top-quality generics are produced in accordance with international quality standards (GMP), which determine the composition, form of packaging and the quality of the raw materials. If the drug proves to be ineffective or dangerous, it simply will not be allowed to enter the pharmaceutical market.
In addition, the generic must act as the original drug: to have the same effect, absorbed and excreted from the body at the same rate. This principle is called the bioequivalence.
Before a generic enters a pharmacy, it must prove its equivalence to the branded drug. However, a certain deviation (within 20%) is still allowed, which is sometimes used by not entirely unreliable generic manufacturers. In an effort to reduce costs, they adjust the composition of auxiliary components and change production technology. This ultimately can result in a decrease in drug absorption.
In what countries are generics sold?
Generics are sold and used all over the world. In Europe and America, there are even special reference books on generics in which the necessary information is written: manufacturer, a therapeutic effect, bioequivalence.
In fact, a generic drug is exactly the same medication as the brand-name drug. The pharmaceutical system is designed in a way to stimulate the production of generics. Therefore, if such a drug was produced in accordance with all quality standards, you can be sure of its safety and effectiveness. It will work in exactly the same way as the branded medication.