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Generic Medicines

About Your Medicines

Some types of drugs are manufactured by a variety of companies and the appearances can differ. They should work in the same way and there is no cause for alarm.

Where Do Your Medicines Come From?

New drugs are developed by drug companies who patent them and give them a special brand name. This is so that other companies cannot copy them. It also helps people remember the name of their medication. The other name for medicines which hospitals sometimes use is the generic name - this is the chemical name.

One example of this is paracetamol which is commonly known by the brand name Panadol.

What Is A Generic Medicine?

After the patent has run out for a branded medicine other companies can manufacture it under a generic name. The medicine is just as safe and effective as the original branded product but it is usually much cheaper. Using generic medicines saves the NHS millions of pounds and allows this money to be spent on you and other patients.

Why Do Generic Medicines Look Different?

The original colour and shape of branded medicines are sometimes included in the patent, so you may notice your generic medicines are different in colour, shape, size and also taste. This does not alter the effect of the medicine. In some cases tablets and capsules have special coatings so that the medicine lasts longer in the body.

Checklist For Patients

Discuss any worries about your medicines with your pharmacist or doctor. Know your medication by its generic name and strength. Take your prescription to the same pharmacy each time if possible. Generic prescribing is simple and can save the NHS money. You and other patients can benefit from this extra money and the improvements to healthcare that it can bring.

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