Do generic drugs work as well as name brand?

CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) - It's a question people have asked for years, do name generic versions of drugs work as well as the name brand?

Kevin Wood, a pharmacist at Broadway Prescription Shop, says for the most part, yes. The FDA regulates generic drugs just as they do name brand.

Wood said he suggests the generic version most of the time to his customers. He says the active ingredient in the drug is the same as the name brand, but the inactive ingredients are different.

He says there is always the chance that someone will react differently to those inactive ingredients, and would need the name brand drug.

"You're always going to have a certain person that doesn't react well to maybe an inactive ingredient, they use different fillers to make the tablets, but for the most part no, there should never be an issue with it," said Wood. "I would say 95 percent of the people never have an issue with that."

"I haven't had any problems," said Donna Delgado.

"I haven't found it to be an issue yet, and I've been taking generic drugs for quite some time," said Carol Cannon.

"I always get generics," said Delgado.

"I always get name brand," said Chad Bicknell.

It's an issue people go back and forth on: name brand or generic drugs.

"I built it up that name brand is better," said Bicknell.

Bicknell said he buys the name brand of most drugs, over the counter and prescription.

"Just for safety and comfortably mostly," said Bicknell.

He says he did a test in college comparing name brand Coke to a generic cola. He says people said they preferred Coke, but then during the taste test, said the two tasted the same. Bicknell says he sees the generic drug debate similarly.

"We can't really afford to spend that kind of money on something we can get a lot cheaper," said Delgado.

Some people agree with Delgado, saying they prefer the price of the generic drugs.

"They're a lot cheaper and I can afford them," said Cannon.

"For most people there's no reason to pay that extra," said Wood.

Other people said they have to get the generic version, because that's all their insurance will pay for.

If they work about the same, why are generic drugs so much less expensive?

"The expensive part of developing a drug is the clinical trials, and the generic doesn't have to repeat that process," said Wood.

The FDA reported in 2010 alone, the use of generic drugs saved about $3 billion each week.

There are some prescriptions doctors require the name brand. One example is the drug Synthroid. It's used to treat Thyroid problems. The dosage is very specific and sometimes generic and name brand drugs are measured differently.

You can see more from the FDA on generic drugs here.

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