myths and facts

Even though Health Canada applies the same strict standards to generic and brand name drugs, misperceptions about the safety and effectiveness of generic drugs persist.

Myth: You get what you pay for, so expensive brand name drugs must work better.

Fact: Brand name and generic drugs work in the same way. When it comes to computers and cars, you might get more by spending more money. But when it comes to medicine, you’ll get the same high quality with an approved generic that you do with an expensive brand name drug.

Myth: My doctor prescribed a brand drug because the generic isn’t right for me.

Fact: Generic drugs are just as effective as brand name drugs. If your doctor writes you a prescription for a brand name drug, ask if there is an equivalent generic drug you can take instead. In most cases, there will be a generic drug that is just as effective but costs much less.

Myth: New brand name drugs are always better than older generic drugs.

Fact: With older generic drugs, the risks and side effects are commonly known since doctors have a lot more experience using them and many thousands of people have taken them. Less may be known about the risks and side effects of new brand name drugs since they haven’t been around as long.

Myth: Generics don’t have to pass the same quality tests as brand medicines.

Fact: Just like brand name drugs, generic drugs must be approved by Health Canada, the government agency that oversees the quality and safety of all drugs sold in Canada. Health Canada inspects the companies that make generic drugs to ensure their manufacturing plants meet the same stringent quality standards as companies that make brand name drugs.

Myth: Generic drugs cause more allergic reactions and negative side effects.

Fact: There is no conclusive proof that generic drugs cause more allergies or side effects than brand name drugs. A few people might have side effects when switching from one drug to another, but this does not happen more often with generic drugs than with brand name drugs.

Myth: My doctor or pharmacy wants me to take generic drugs just to save money.

Fact: Your doctor and local pharmacist likely want you to receive the medicine that is safe, effective and most affordable. Generic drugs often represent the best choice. There typically is no economic benefit to your doctor in prescribing generic drugs.

Taken from: