What are generics?
When the patent protection of a medical product has expired, a substitution medicine (= generic) may be developed and produced instead. The active substance that is used for the generic product corresponds to that of the original product. Generics therefore display the same effects and side effects as the corresponding original medications. However, they cost significantly less than the originals.
What are the benefits of generics?
Apart from the considerable cost savings offered by generics, they also display direct advantages compared to the original products. Generics only contain proven substances that are well-known and documented on the basis of many years of therapeutic experience. Generics are often offered in customer-friendly administration forms.
Across the board through all layers of the population and age groups, people in Switzerland appreciate the manifold advantages of generics, as the following brief surveys show.
Quality of generics
Generics are tested according to the same strict procedures as original medicines. The generic product is tested for bioequivalence. This means that after taking it, the contained substance must be available in the body to the same degree as the original..
Apart from bioequivalence, the manufacturer must prove that each individual step during production meets the highest quality standards. This starts with the manufacturing and the acquisition of the substances, continues with ongoing quality controls during production, and culminates with the analysis of the finished product. The quality is monitored continuously through periodically carried out sample tests and operational inspections.
Generics often have advantages compared to the original due to an improvement of the dosage form. Owing to such optimisations, a generics tablet can for example be divided or swallowed better.
«Among the leading generics products, one can meanwhile observe not only a striving for size, but also a tendency towards diversification of the product range.»
«Generics not only have a lower price – up to 70 percent cheaper than the original sold in Switzerland – in many cases they offer more practical dosage forms for the patient that the original was not able to develop at the time of its market introduction.»
Salvatore Volante, President of the Association of Medium-Sized Pharmaceutical Companies