Generic vs Branded Medicines. Which one should you use ?

Blog Post ( G vs B Med)

Every medicine (drug) has an approved generic name. Often, it will also have one or more brand (trade) names. This can sometimes lead to confusion.


What are generic and brand medicines ?

Generic name. Each medicine (drug) has an approved name called the generic name. A group of medicines that have similar actions often have similar-sounding generic names. For example, penicillin, ampicillin, amoxicillin and flucloxacillin are in one group of antibiotics.

Brand name. Many medicines also have one or more brand names. This is chosen by the company that makes it. Several companies may make the same generic medicine, each with their own brand name. The name is often chosen to be memorable for advertising, or to be easier to say or spell than some long generic name! For example, paracetamol is a generic name. There are several companies that make this with brand names such as Panadol®, Calpol®, etc.
The brand name is usually written most clearly on any packaging. However, you will always see the generic name written somewhere on the packet (often in small print). Some medicines only have the generic name on the packet.

The colour, size, shape, etc, of brands of the same medicine may vary depending on which company makes it. Do not be alarmed if your regular medicine seems to have changed colour or shape. It may be that the pharmacist is getting it from a different company, or the doctor has written the prescription in a generic way rather than using a brand name. However, the medicine will be the same if the generic name is the same as before.

Combination products

Some tablets or pills contain a combination of medicines. Combination products are often marketed and sold with a brand name. However, the individual ingredients (the individual medicines that are combined into the one tablet or pill) will all be listed in small print on the packet. For example, a popular painkiller has a brand name of Solpadeine®. This contains three generic medicines – paracetamol, codeine, and caffeine.

Generic prescribing

Doctors are encouraged to prescribe by using the generic name. This is because:

The generic name is the one doctors are trained to use. There are sometimes many brand names for one medicine. Possible confusion or mistakes are reduced if all doctors use the same names when talking about and prescribing medicines.
Generic medicines are often cheaper for the NHS. Even for medicines that you can buy, such as paracetamol, there is often a big price difference between brands.


Cheaper does not mean lower quality.

Generic manufacturers are able to sell their products for lower prices because they are not required to repeat the costly clinical trials of new drugs and generally do not pay for costly advertising, marketing, and promotion. In addition, multiple generic companies are often approved to market a single product; this creates competition in the market place, often resulting in lower prices.

FACT: When it comes to price, there is a big difference between generic and brand name drugs. On average, the cost of a generic drug is 80 to 85 percent lower than the brand name product.


Laughter prevents memory loss

We all know how great it feels to have a good laugh, especially with friends whose company you enjoy. While it’s said “laughter is the best medicine,” there are actually scientific studies showing the mechanism of laughing does have positive health benefits to the body. In fact, a new study even shows it can play a role in preventing memory loss.

Laughing releases dopamine and endorphins in our brain, which are chemicals that induce pleasurable feelings.

In an important new research study at Loma Linda University in California, the findings show that humor and laughter may play a role in reducing age-related memory loss. The main focus of the study was the hormone cortisol, which is released when the body experiences stress.

Stress has been proven to have a negative effect on both learning and memory and older adults are particularly susceptible to factors that cause memory loss.

To determine if laughter as a stress reducer might lessen the damage cortisol does to the brain, the research team conducted the study with three groups of seniors, one with diabetes, one without a health issue, and a control group. Two of the test groups were shown a 20-minute humorous video and then given a memory test measuring memory recall, visual recognition, and learning ability. The third group of older adult participants did the test without first watching the video. The cortisol levels of all three group members were evaluated before and after the tests.

The results showed that both groups who had seen the video had a substantial reduction in their cortisol levels when compared to the control group. In addition, the test subjects who saw the video demonstrated more improvement in memory recall and learning ability than the group that didn’t watch the humorous video.

The study co-author Dr. Lee Berk, said  “So, indeed, laughter is turning out to be not only a good medicine, but also a memory enhancer adding to our quality of life.