A lot of people might be surprised to learn about generic drugs in the Philippines.
A generic drug is essentially the same as a brand-name drug, but the name of the product comes from the company that makes it. As the name implies, a generic drug is a medication created to be the same as an already marketed brand-name drug in dosage form, quality, strength, texture, route of administration, safety, performance characteristics, and intended use.
If the medical doctor prescribes you a brand-name drug, and a generic version is available, you can take a generic medicine as an equal substitute for its brand-name counterpart.
What are Generic Drugs?
Generic drugs and brand-name drugs are similar in many ways. You can take generic medicines as an equal substitute for their brand-name equivalents. They have the same active ingredients and the same use. They are also regulated by the same laws and have the same safety and efficacy profiles. Generic medicines have the same intent of use, and they are in the same way as the brand-name version. That said, the generic medicine and its brand-name counterpart may have different names, different packaging, and different dosage forms.
Generic drugs are bioequivalent to the brand-name drugs they are intended to replace. This means that a generic medicine works in the same way and provides the same clinical benefit as the brand-name medicine. Pharmaceutical companies manufacture generic drugs, which, in turn, are granted the right to produce a brand-name drug to market in exchange for a fee. This is a legal agreement, and the generic drug companies are obliged to make sure that their products are just as good as the brand-name drugs.
Generic drugs are the name of medicine by the pharmaceutical industry and are primarily used to replace brand-name drugs. The name of the medicine is the same as the name of the brand-name medicine, but it does not have a company trademark on the name. Generic drugs are also known as bioequivalent or equivalent drugs.
What are the Pros and Cons of Generic Drugs?
Here are the advantages of generic drugs:
Cheaper price than the branded versions:
A generic drug can be a cheaper option for patients who are on tight budgets. They may not have the money to pay premium prices because they do not have insurance or other financial support. Generic drugs are also used as a safety net in case you need an expensive medicine that is not available at all. For example, if your child needs any antibiotics, you should take him to the pharmacy and ask them to give you the best antibiotic that is available at their store. This will ensure he receives only safe medication without any side effects.
Generic medicines usually come with fewer side effects than brand-name ones, but this depends on each individual drug. Some people experience more severe adverse reactions, while others don’t feel anything special from taking it. A good doctor can help you know how these medications work for you so that your health remains unchanged in no way whatsoever!
Safe and Almost the Same as Brand-Name Drugs:
The Philippine Food and Drug Administration allows minimal variation in generic drugs from branded drugs. Medically speaking, it means that it will keep the bioequivalence of the generic medicine precisely the same as the brand-name drug. Hence, the impact is identical, clinical benefit is similar, and even healing is identical.
Generic drugs are usually more effective, cheaper, and safer than the branded version, according to a study by the British Medical Journal in 2013. It showed that generics were better at reducing pain and less likely to cause side effects than their branded counterparts.
The Philippine Food and Drugs Administration has been trying for many years now to make sure that generics are bioequivalent. This will ensure safety for consumers.
Most health insurance plans cover only a few drugs from a list or formulary of brands they will pay for. Any drug that is not on the list or formulary must go from your pocket, and you rarely get what you deserve. In such a scenario, generic medicines can come to your rescue by reducing the overall cost of healthcare or even lowering your co-pay structure if generic medications include in your policy.
Some medicines do not have a generic alternative.
This is because some have patents, and if a company holds the patent, no one else can produce that medicine anymore. It is illegal to manufacture and sell medicine under patent protection.
Unregulated Pharmaceutical Manufacturers: The Rist of Immitation and Substandard
Another reason to buy branded drugs is the risk of imitation and substandard manufacturing practices from unknown pharmaceutical companies. A common example in this regard is that some unscrupulous manufacturers may start manufacturing without any proper guidelines and safety standards. Hence, consumers are adamant about purchasing generic drugs and still prefer to buy brand-name drugs with the manufacturer’s logo on them.
Clinical Trials and Generic Drug Testing Are Not Trustworthy.
Clinical trials and generic drug testing are not reliable in many developing countries. Many clinical testing centers have a poor historical record, and they are unregulated by the government, making it difficult for medical practitioners to trust the results thoroughly. Medical hospitals’ pharmacies and retail drug stores should have authentic generic drugs that meet the essential quality and global standard drug testing requirements.
What are the Regulations in the Philippines on Generic Drugs?
Medical doctors prescribe generic drugs to treat the same condition as the branded drug they are a substitute for. Generic drugs are just as safe and effective as the branded drug they are a substitute for, but they are considerably cheaper. Generic drug companies and pharmaceutical manufacturers in the Philippines are required to follow strict regulations by the Department of Health and Philippine Food and Drug Administration in order to be able to produce generic drugs.
These are regulations enacted by the Philippine congress and require the pharmaceutical companies to have an approved dossier and a registration certificate from FDA. Testing of generic drugs is crucial to ensure that they are safe for human use. Pharmaceutical companies can produce generic drugs in accordance with the Philippine laws and guidelines.
Drug companies can only manufacture generic medicines if the country’s health authority, such as the Department of Health or Food and Drugs Administration, approves the application, certification, and production process. It is illegal for a generic drug company to produce a generic drug without the approval of the Department of Health, Food and Drug Administration, and other Philippine government authorities. It is also illegal for a generic drug company to register a new generic drug if the health authority has already approved the manufacture of the generic drug.
The regulations and republic act law are available on these websites:
- Food and Drug Administration https://www.fda.gov.ph/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/RA-9502-Cheaper-Medicines-Act.pdf
- Department of Health https://doh.gov.ph/node/3184
List of Famous Generic Pharmacies in the Philippines
There are numerous pharmacies and drug stores in the Philippines. Both private, independent retailers, medical hospital pharmacies, and government drugstores (botika). Here are some of the largest and most well-known pharmacy chain retail stores in the Philippines:
- The Generics Pharmacy
- Mercury Drug
- Generika Drugstore
- South Star Drug
- Rose Pharmacy
- Metro Pharmacy
- K2 Drug
Generic Drugs Overview in the Philippines
According to HAI Global research report in 2008, there were over 16,000 pharmaceuticals registered with the Bureau of Food and Drugs.
The number of pharmaceutical manufacturers in the Philippines is increasing. As of 2008, there were 275 licensed pharma manufacturers.
448 drug companies import medicines from Europe, Asia, North America, and Africa.
There are over 4,165 pharmaceutical wholesalers and distributors in the Philippines.
The total estimated number of pharmacies and drugstores in the Philippines is above 30,000. Private retail drugstores’ share is around 21,000, while hospital pharmacies are 1,700 stores. Botika ng Barangay or community drug stores are also present in rural areas.
Almost 90% of the medicine distribution in the Philippines is dominated by a few wholesalers. This is because the small drug retailers and pharmacies are inefficient and lack the capital to scale their businesses and hire competent management to manage the business.
The estimated markups of generic drugs vary from retailer to wholesaler. Retail price markup ranges from 5% to 355%, while the wholesaler’s markup estimate is around 18% to 117%.
Public pharmacies have a fixed markup of 30%
Where are Generic Drugs Made?
Several pharmaceutical companies manufacture generic drugs and sell their own products under a variety of brands.
When the number of generic drugs produced exceeds the demand, they sit in warehouses, waiting for customers to buy them.
There are hundreds of generic drug factories that can be found throughout Asia and Europe.
Difference Between Generic Drugs and Branded Drugs
Generic drugs are cheaper than branded drugs and may be available in the exact dosage, strength, and a number of pills. Generic drugs are the exact same active ingredient as their branded counterparts but cost less.
Whether you get your prescription filled at a pharmacy or the medical center, your pharmacist may ask whether you want to pick the generic alternative. Understanding the differences between medications can help you make an informed choice.
Are generic drugs the same as brand-name medicines?
A generic medicine supplier also makes some medicines available under the brand name medications in the Philippines. This means they will have exactly the same ingredients and effects as their branded equivalent, but they may be sold at a lower price.
Generic drugs may vary from the branded drugs in the following traits:
- form, texture, shape, size, and color of the drugs
- branding and packaging
- ‘inactive ingredients’ that were put into the generic drugs
How can I tell if my medicine is brand-name or generic?
You should be able to tell from the packaging whether your medicine is brand-name or generic. If you cannot, ask your pharmacist for advice on the type of medicine. It’s important to check this before taking any dose!
If a medication’s active ingredient is the same, it is most likely a generic medicine. If the active ingredient is different, but the product’s name and strength are the same, in most cases, this will also be considered generic. If a drug’s active ingredient differs from another drug with an identical name and strength, then there may not be any legal difference between these two drugs – they could both technically be generics.
Pharmacists Determine Which Drugs to Recommend
So you might wonder how does my pharmacist determine whether or not I am getting a brand-name or generic version of my medication?
When patients visit a pharmacy, the pharmacist will ask if they would like to purchase a brand-name or generic medication. The pharmacist will then look up the medication’s ingredients on their computer system or internet and compare them to the patient’s current medication ingredients. If there are any significant differences, the pharmacist may recommend that the patient purchase a brand-name medication instead of a generic version of their medication.
When you receive your prescription at your pharmacy counter, your pharmacist will check the label to determine whether or not your medicine is brand-name medication or generic. If it is not clear from the packaging, ask your pharmacist for help in determining what type of medicine it is.
Conclusion: Why are Generic Drugs Cheaper?
Generic drugs are cheaper because they do not have to go through the rigorous approval process by the Philippine Food and Drug Administration (FDA). This means that generic versions of a drug with similar active ingredients are often very similar in performance, though they may be less expensive. That’s why you can get a generic version of popular brands such as Biogesic or Panadol for as little as PHP1.8 per pill.
The Philippine FDA does not make it easy for consumers to know whether a generic is safe or effective before taking them. However, this is only true for medications that have been available by prescription for many years and have gone through Philippine FDA testing. Some newer generics don’t always follow these rules and come with some serious drawbacks when compared to their name-brand medication counterparts.