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Is Substituting Your Medication a Safe Choice?

Written byNikhil Ambatkar

Last updated on : 14 Mar, 2024

Read time : 4 min

What are substitute medicines?

Substitute medicines, also known as generic medicines, are biosimilar to their branded counterparts. They are the same in every aspect as branded medicines, like the route of administration, safety, action, and strength. When comparing a generic to a non-generic, the generic version should have the same effect as the non-generic.

Generic medicines work the same way as the original branded versions but are often significantly cheaper. Generic medications are economical because they are not subject to the same expensive research, development, and marketing costs as their branded counterparts. 

In addition, generic medicines usually undergo a rigorous approval process that ensures they meet the same regulatory standards as their branded equivalents. This means that generic medication can provide a cost-effective solution to branded medicines. 

How are substitute medicines different from branded ones?

Before a new medication is made available to the public, it must undergo a rigorous testing process conducted by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to gain approval.

Once it passes the tests, the company that created the medication obtains a patent, meaning they are the only one with the right to market and sell it for a certain period. 

When the patent expires, other companies can contact the FDA to request permission to produce and distribute a generic version of the same medication.

The FDA has determined that a generic drug can be up to 15% lower or higher in its blood absorption rate when compared to the original. Data from 2,000 studies showed that the average difference was 3.5%. 

In other words, when comparing generic and brand-name medications, you can expect similar outcomes concerning their effectiveness.

Are Substitute Medicines Safe?

Generic drugs tend to be more affordable yet just as effective as their name-brand counterparts. 

Companies manufacturing these medications don’t have to expend resources on research, animal and human trial testing, promotion, and advertisement. 

When an off-patent pharmaceutical product is available, companies can obtain a license to produce and distribute generic medicine, which FDA then evaluates. 

Generic medications still possess the identical active ingredient that underwent all necessary clinical trials and quality inspections when a branded company initially manufactured it as a non-generic product. As such, doctors find these medicines to be safe. 

Pharmacovigilance departments track the safety risks and side effects of these medications. The experts at this organisation are devoted to delivering potent and risk-free pharmaceuticals to consumers. 

They inspect complaints and advise the public, drug makers, and medical practitioners.

Where Can You Get Substitute/Generic medicines?

Generic drugs are available throughout India, with pharmacies located in cities and states. 

Pradhan Mantri Bhartiya Janaushadhi Pariyojana (PMBJP) is committed to making therapeutic medications accessible to the general populace, and you can purchase generic medicines from Jan Aushadhi Stores.

The Drugs Technical Advisory Board of India has recently changed a ruling within the constitution to allow pharmacies the freedom to offer generic medications to customers, even when their prescriptions specify the branded version. 

If you’re looking for a generic medicine alternative, you should converse with your pharmacist or doctor and conduct a thorough search. You can also order generic/substitute medicines from our online pharmacy, Truemeds.

Read more5 Best Ways To Save Money On Medicine Through Online Pharmacy

Takeaway Message

Generic medications should be promoted more actively as they make quality medical care accessible to the public. The economic effect of the COVID-19 pandemic has meant that most people are now unable to spend as much as before. However, such medications do not impede or obstruct medical innovation and research, which should be encouraged.

When placing an order for medicines online, you may save more money by selecting alternative medicine advised by Truemed’s expert doctors. Get free teleconsultation from our expert doctors once you order medicine from an online pharmacy – Truemeds- or download our Truemeds app. You can avail of branded and generic medication by uploading your prescription on Truemeds. You can save up to 72% on your purchase and get free home delivery* pan India.

Disclaimer– The information in this article is accurate to our best knowledge; we recommend you consult your healthcare professional before practising any information mentioned in this article.


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Our healthcare experts have carefully reviewed and compiled the information presented here to ensure accuracy and trustworthiness. It is important to note that this information serves as a general overview of the topic and is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to diagnose, prevent, or cure any health problem. This page does not establish a doctor-patient relationship, nor does it replace the advice or consultation of a registered medical practitioner. We recommend seeking guidance from your registered medical practitioner for any questions or concerns regarding your medical condition.


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