For years, Americans have been conditioned to believe name brand products are better thus, choosing these products at the store. Many people wonder whether common over-the-counter medicines made by store brands, such as those manufactured by Walmart, Target and major grocery store chains, are as effective as their brand-name counterparts. The differences in the products include price point, packaging, and inactive ingredients.
It’s reasonable that people wish to choose the product they’re most familiar with, but it’s also an expensive choice in many cases. Generics are oftentimes prepared identically to name brand products. The variations are slight on the name brand, cost is one exception, which is much less. What consumers may not be aware of is the fact that with brand names, advertising is what makes the difference.
However, a shift in purchasing power has occurred since the U.S. recession began in December 2007. It brought with it new opportunities for supermarkets and drugstores to reach out to consumers who grew increasingly eager to save on everyday purchases. Since then, consumers have been feeling more comfortable buying generic products as the quality of store brands improves and is regularly acknowledged as being on par with their brand counterparts. The FDA (Food and Drug Administration) regulates the approval, manufacture and sale of all over-the-counter (OTC) drug products. Store brands must go through the same FDA approval process as brand names. They must meet the same safety and effectiveness standards. The FDA requires manufacturing facilities to meet their standards regardless of whether they make store brands or brand names. And store brands must also meet the same FDA quality standards. The FDA even regulates OTC labeling so consumers can use these drugs without the intervention of a healthcare provider.
This and the fact that Americans want to save money have boosted sales in generic products and OTC medicine. In particular, when it comes to notoriously expensive over-the-counter and prescription drugs, Americans are becoming far less fussy about giving generics a chance. Let’s take the perfect example; Bayer, a popular over-the-counter brand name that everyone is familiar with. Its active ingredient is aspirin. There are countless store brands—or generic versions—of aspirin. They are the exact same ingredient. They have the same dosage, strength, safety and performance.
So, if you’re hesitant about buying grocery brands or generic drugs as opposed to brand name, rest assured you’re getting the same medicine but at a better price. A generic version of a drug must use the same active ingredient(s) as the brand name drug and it must meet the same quality and safety standards. Additionally, the FDA requires that a generic drug be the same as a brand name drug in:
- the way it works
- the way it is taken
- the way it should be used
- the health conditions that it treats
All generic drugs must be reviewed and approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) before they can be prescribed or sold over-the-counter.
Some consumers that the effectiveness and safety of store brand OTC medicine is compromised. According to the FDA, all drugs, including brand name drugs and generic drugs, must work well and be safe. Generic drugs use the same active ingredients as their brand name counterparts and, therefore, have the same risks and benefits.
Many people are concerned about the quality of generic drugs. To assure quality, safety, and effectiveness, the FDA puts all generic drugs through a thorough review process including a review of scientific information about the generic drug’s ingredients and performance. Moreover, the FDA requires that a generic drug manufacturing plant meets the same high standards as a plant for a brand name drug. To ensure compliance with this rule, the FDA conducts approximately 3,500 on-site inspections each year.
Brand name companies make about half of all generic drugs. They may make copies of their own medications or another other company’s brand name drugs and then sell them without the brand name.
Trust is earned. When consumers try store brands, the quality of those products is a big factor in convincing shoppers to keep buying them. Nine out of every ten shoppers agree the store brand products they buy are just as good or better than name brand products.
Store brand meds offer more than just the same relief of symptoms. They offer added relief for your wallet too.