Brand-Name Drugs, Generic Drugs, and Illegal Prescription Drugs

If you’ve thought about buying prescription drugs on the internet you may have found the whole experience rather confusing. Here are some questions you might have wondered about.

  • Are generic drugs as good as brand-names?
  • Are drug copies such as “generic viagra” safe to use?
  • Does it matter if a drug is not “FDA approved”?
  • Are you breaking US law if you buy non-FDA-approved drugs on the internet?

These are just some of the questions many people have about online pharmacies and online drugs. The purpose of this article is to answer some of these questions

1. What is a Generic Drug?In the US and many other countries, a “generic” drug is a copy of a brand-name drug. It has identical active ingredients as the brand-name version, and so it is the same as the brand-name version in dosage, safety, strength, quality, performance, and intended use.

A generic version of a brand-name drug is not just similar to its brand-name counterpart. It is identical in all its important characteristics. It must not look like the brand-name version, and it may have a different flavor. But the amount of important active ingredients is the same,and therefore it has the same therapeutic characteristics as its brand-name counterpart.

2. Does every Brand-Name Drug have a Generic Counterpart?

No, every brand-name drug does not have a generic counterpart. This is especially the case with newer drugs such as Viagra, Cialis, and Levitra. These brand-name formulations are patent-protected for 20 years from the date of the submission of the patent. That means that no other drug company can introduce a “generic” version of any of these drugs while its patent is in effect. This allows the original developer of the brand-name drug to recover research and development costs.

When the patent for a specific drug expires, other companies — including the original developer of the brand-name drug — can apply to the FDA to sell generic versions.

This also explains why legitimate generic drugs are cheaper than their brand-name counterparts. A generic manufacturer does not have to recover research and development costs and can therefore sell them for less. This also has a tendency to drive down the price of the brand-name version as well.

3. Do Generic Drugs have to be FDA-Approved?

Yes, all prescription drugs, including all generic drugs must be FDA approved. In order to be sold to the public, generic drugs must pass the same FDA inspections as their brand-name counterparts. They must be manufactured to the same high standards, and the facilities where they are produced are subjected to the same inspections. In fact, an estimated 50 percent of all generic drugs are produced by the same company that produces the brand-name version of the drug.

4. Is there such a thing as a Non-FDA-Approved Generic Drug?

No, technically speaking, there is no such thing as a non-FDA-approved “generic” drug.  As outlined above, legitimate “generic” drugs must have the same characteristics as their brand-name counterparts, and must pass through the same FDA approval process in order to be sold to the public.

When an offshore company copies a brand-name drug before its patent expires it cannot get FDA approval because it is breaking US law.

5. Problems with Offshore Copies of Brand-Name Drugs

There are two major problems with so-called “generic” drugs that are not FDA approved.

  • It is illegal to sell these drugs in the US (and other countries) because they are ignoring US and international patent laws
  • It is dangerous to buy and use these drugs, because they are not subject to inspection and regulation. According to some sources, “many of these generics are created in unsanitary, make-shift labs and over half of these medications tested are cited for being unsafe for onsumption.” In many cases they are found to contain “little to none or too much of the active ingredient.”

6. How Can You Be Sure You are Buying FDA Approved Drugs?

  • The website should say “FDA Approved” or “FDA Approved Pharmaceuticals”
  • Websites offering “generic” versions of newer drugs such as Viagra, Cialis, Levitra, and Propecia are selling non-FDA-approved versions of these drugs. These drugs have not been around long enough for their patent to have expired, so the “generic” copies are illegal copies.
  • Never buy from a website that has no phone number to call or physical address you can verify.
  • The online pharmacy should have knowledgeable licensed consultants able to answer your questions.

Generic Drugs and Online Pharmacies

Even someone who has been living under a rock for the last five or so years would be aware of the confusion, misconception and questions that exist regarding generic prescription drugs, especially the largest selling online, by far, Viagra (Sildenafil Citrate) and other drugs used for the treatment of erectile dysfunction.

Some people believe much of the misinformation published by those who would have them pay ten times more for genuine drugs rather than the far cheaper generic versions. Much of the confusion and misconception exists because, understandably, many can’t see how the generic drug can be the same thing but be so cheap. Well, here is why the vast difference exists. It’s no secret, nor is it difficult to understand. It’s simply economics versus opportunism (although sometimes justified).

The following applies to all generic drugs sold through online pharmacies and in retail pharmacies on the street. There is no difference.

When the drug is first researched, discovered and developed, it takes a number of years and many, many millions (if not billions) of dollars in research, failure, more research, testing through multiple stages. Then come the trials, which have to satisfy the likes of the FDA (most countries have their own version of the FDA), which can, again, take years and more millions and even still fail for one reason or another.

Once the drug is approved by the authorities as safe (or relatively so, with the appropriate warnings…), the drug company then have to spend more millions and months marketing and promoting it to the public and the medical profession and wait for them to become confident in the product. Then comes the mass manufacture, packaging, wholesaling, and distribution etc of the tablets or whatever form the drug tales.

Interestingly, for instance, from the time the patent was taken out on Viagra in 1993 it took five years, till 1998, before it could be sold. Huge investments in money, time and resources, which the drug company (and shareholders) needed desperately to recover, hopefully in short order. Who can blame them, really? It’s a huge investment and huge risk with any new drug and some don’t end up being worthwhile.

That’s why any original drug is relatively expensive compared to it’s generic counterpart. At least for the first decade or so, while these enormous investments are being recovered. Very simple indeed.

Now for generic drugs, of which there are many. First of all, they are generally manufactured overseas because of cheaper labor and production costs and also because the patent doesn’t allow for them to be made or sold in the U.S. (if that’s where they were originally discovered and patented) except by the patent owner. They can however, be imported, in personal quantities by individuals, in most countries.

Before we go any further, as I said, many other countries have their own versions of the FDA, which are every bit as stringent and effective. Those countries that don’t have such an authority rely on the World Health Organization (W.H.O.) to approve and monitor the manufacture of already proven pharmaceuticals. Let’s face it, when people get sick in Australia, Britain, India, Russia, China, Japan etc and take the drugs made in their own country, they get better. The U.S is NOT the only place in the world that can be trusted to make quality, safe and effective pharmaceuticals. It would be silly and cynical to think so.

In fact, it may surprise some that the bulk ingredients for some so-called ‘US manufactured’ drugs are actually imported from other countries, so let’s be realistic!

The Generic drug that is purchased online is GENERALLY made in pharmaceutical facilities, which are approved by authorities much the same as the FDA and/or W.H.O. It is also interesting to note that vast amounts of GENERIC drugs like antibiotics, immunizations, birth control pills and even Viagra are used by the likes of W.H.O., World Vision and the Red Cross etc in their humanitarian endeavors because of their vastly cheaper prices. If they’re good enough for The Red Cross, are they good enough for you? I think so…

Generic Drugs that are sold through Online Pharmacies are so cheap because of the cheaper labor in other countries, but more so because of the obvious following reasons:

NO huge initial investment to recover.

NO wholesalers, distributors or retailers, they are shipped to the client from the manufacturer.

NO transport costs between three, four or often five of the above organizations.

NO stock needs to be kept by any of these non-existent middlemen or Pharmacies.

NO ‘bricks and mortar’ premises need to be maintained by the middlemen or the Pharmacies.

So you see, the ongoing mark-ups or profits from each of these middlemen don’t exist because they don’t exist, just the price from the manufacturer and their commission to the referring Online Pharmacy.

In closing, I must admit that there ARE counterfeit drugs and there are drugs, which don’t contain much of the effective ingredient. This problem is seen more so in drugs like Viagra, cialis and Levitra (the ED drugs) because of their popularity but STILL, these account for a very small percentage indeed, of the quality generic drugs sold online. People are still buying online drugs in droves and they wouldn’t continue to do that if they were having bad or questionable experiences, would they?

It’s also been discovered that the counterfeit drugs that everyone seems to condemn online Pharmacies over, ALSO show up in ‘bricks and mortar’ Pharmacies. So, why aren’t people wary of these retail outlets? Easy… media and the original manufacturer’s hype. Of course they’d rather sell all the online buyers genuine drugs at a much higher rate.

As for the best way to tell a safe online Pharmacy, look for a toll free phone number and other means of contact, for following up orders, requesting cancellations, refunds or complaints. If they have these, they can hardly be surviving by selling inferior products. Check out the contacts first if you wish to make sure they’re genuine.

This article is written in the spirit of assisting those who have a need for prescription drugs but are unable to, or have difficulty in, financing their urgent needs. Generic drugs are safe, in the main and online pharmacies are honest and helpful, also in the main. Action is continually being taken against pharmacies (both online and on the street), which sell inferior products. Hopefully we will soon have worldwide pharmacy access, which all people can trust and take advantage of.

The Competition Of Generic Drugs

Along Viagra, Cialis is one of the drugs that has become a victim of its own success in that the demand for it has been lessened by the horde of imitation and generic versions that have sprung up. It is a direct competitor to Viagra in that it was created to perform the same function without using the same active ingredients. The major advantage that Cialis has over Viagra is the amount of time for which it is active within the body. With Cialis the benefits last for 36 hours, which is a noticeable increase on the length of time for which Viagra is active in the system.

There has been a great increase lately in the use of the “Big Three” (Viagra, Levitra & Cialis) together in an anti-impotence cocktail. This is not something that is ordinarily recommended, but many internet sites that market the products often offer them together at a discounted rate. This is publicly so that people can enjoy the different benefits that each offers, but many people believe it’s actually just to increase the amount that is sold. Each of these drugs is known to cause side effects and using them together can possibly increase the risk of you experiencing adverse side effects.

There are legitimate uses for Cialis, but a large portion of the Cialis that is purchased is used for a purpose that it is intended for. A large number of people also use the drug in dosages that differ from the dosage that is advised. This is one of the main reason why the distribution of Cialis to the public needs to be strictly regulated. It is the amount of regulations in place that have provided the opportunity for outside producers to create their own “generic Cialis” and Cialis alternatives to meet the demand for the drug.

The problem with taking Cialis alternatives or herbal version is that since less stringent standards need to be met, people using alternative can experience adverse side affects that they were unaware could be a problem. The requirements that these alternate products have to meet can be far below that which the official Cialis has to meet. This includes distribution so these drugs can be sold in far larger batches and with far fewer checks in place on the buyer. This can allow people to buy it when they are currently taking medication with which it will react adversely, but since the seller is indifferent and the buyer is unaware, problems can occur.