Generic drugs: better understanding and using themHealth 

Generic drugs: better understanding and using them

Even if a drug sold on 4 is a generic drug, they still struggle to find their place: the market share of generic drugs is 30%, according to the latest figures from the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) . Yet the law allows pharmacists to replace a originator (other name of the original drug) with its generic equivalent. Patients refuse this substitution because they do not trust. Some misconceptions persist.

Generic drugs are not effective. FALSE

Efficiency is guaranteed by the principle of bioequivalence. A generic must demonstrate that it is bioequivalent to the reference medicine, otherwise it is withdrawn from the market. The therapeutic efficacy of the generic drug is the same as for the originator. The presentation, or even the shape or the colors may vary. The name also: the generic is not sold under the name of a brand, it is produced and sold under an international nonproprietary name (INN) . Since January 2015, the doctor prescribes specifying the INN.

Generic drugs are not safe. FALSE

Like any drug, the generic must obtain a marketing authorization (MA). At this stage, there is also the knowledge of the molecule used. The generic is designed from the molecule of a drug put on the market after ten years of study, and used by health professionals and patients for 10 to 15 years. All effects are already well known and experienced.

And contrary to rumors, they are not made in China and India. According to the Gemme (group of generic industry) , nearly 90% of generic drugs dispensed in France are manufactured in Europe and more than 50% in the national territory.

Generic drugs are economical. TRUE

The generic drug is not a “cheap” or “low-cost” treatment.  If they are cheaper than the original medicines, it is mainly because their cost no longer includes the research costs of the laboratories. They allow an economy to the health system. And they are better reimbursed: the extra cost of a branded medicine is borne by the patient, when he refuses the generic.

Health Insurance saves 1.4 to 1.6 billion euros each year thanks to generics.

These savings realized on the reimbursements of “current” medicines make it possible in particular to finance innovative and expensive treatments, against the cancer for example.

All about generic drugs with the video of the Health Insurance and the Ansm

Good to know

Generic drugs and third-party payment, how does it work?

The device “third-party payment against generics” applies in pharmacy. When you make a prescription to your pharmacist, the pharmacist offers generic medications unless the prescribing physician has written “non-substitutable” on the prescription. If you refuse to substitute drugs and ask for brand-name drugs, you will have to advance the costs of the drugs, paying them to your pharmacist who will give you a paper care sheet to send to your CPAM. Accept the generic drugs offered by your pharmacist is not to advance costs on the part supported by the Health Insurance.This measure applies to all insured persons, regardless of their affiliation plan (general plan, agricultural plan, self-employed plan).

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