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Fact Checked

What's In A Name?

Consumerism can be very much reliant upon the idea of branding.  For any business that offers a product or service, creating a distinction that separates one particular company from another is a means of driving traffic and generating future market recognition.  While most Americans are familiar with the concept of a name brand, it is often taken for granted how much of a subconscious impact this has upon buying trends.  A good example of the way that name brands can become embedded is in referring to any tissue as a “Kleenex” or asking for the “Scotch tape” at the office, regardless of whether it is a generic or name product.

 

With medications, this can also become a habit.  Most consumers are aware that there are generic versions of a name brand drug, but will frequently refer to that medication by the patent name, regardless of the manufacturer.  Further, the concept of branding tends to infer that there is value added to the name product.  While this can sometimes be true with non-prescription products, it is generally not a rule, and even with basic grocery items like cheese or dry goods, many consumers find that a generic brand is actually comparable to the higher priced name product.

 

Patents And Such

 

When it comes to prescription and generic drugs, it can be very important for people to understand why there are different “versions” of the same medication.  For medications, value added is not as applicable as it is with other products, and a name version of a drug is actually part of the process of developing medications.  Although many people would rather not think about the fact that health care is an industry, it is very much a business, and the development of pharmaceuticals plays a large in generating revenue.

 

Drugs are developed in order to aid the public in treating and managing health conditions.  However, the process of creating a chemical answer to illness and chronic ailments does not occur without funding.  Research requires a large amount of backing to cover development, testing, clinical trials, and FDA approval.  When drug companies or sponsors support such development, it is seen as an investment on returns.  Thus, once a medication is created and approved, the sponsors want to ensure that the initial investment will be lucrative, and patents are approved in order to do so.

 

When a new drug is first marketed, it is considered a proprietary formulation and the patent on that drug ensures that only the initial developing company can manufacture and market this treatment.  This is how the name brand of a drug is established and the market for that drug is cornered.  While the patent is still in existence, the drug developer may choose to also make a generic version of the same drug, often to establish a foothold in that market as well.  However, as long as the patent is standing, the rights to all versions of the medication still lie with the developing pharmaceutical company.

 

Generic Competition

 

Although it may seem strange for a company to sell the exact same medication under two different names and price ranges, this is actually also a form of insurance on investments.  As soon as the patent on a drug expires, the formula is no longer proprietary, and any company may now make their own “brand” of the medicine.  By manufacturing identical name and generic versions, the initial company secures visibility for both, so that once the patent is up, their generic brand is already a household familiarity.  In this way, the name version of a prescription is simply an identifying mark, and not an actual testament to greater effectiveness or value.  At usarx.com, you can get a free prescription card that provides a discount on the medications you need, so that your health is not dictated by a patent.

Published March 11th, 2014 by USA Rx
Fact Checked by Chris Riley

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