• Editorial

The pros and cons of generic drugs

Citation

Kamerow, D. (2011). The pros and cons of generic drugs. BMJ (Clinical research ed.), 343, d4584. DOI: 10.1136/bmj.d4584

Abstract

Yes, they save money. But are they good for us?

It is a tough time for Big Pharma. The pipeline of new blockbuster drugs has largely dried up. Many are losing their patent protection, allowing competition from generic versions to emerge. For almost every major disease category—infections, diabetes, hypertension, heart failure, lipid disorders, acid reflux, and more—cheap and effective generic drugs are now available.

Furthermore, the US economy is being bankrupted by healthcare costs. Even though drugs are not even close to the largest part of the healthcare budget—around 10% by most accounts1—switching to generic prescription drugs to save money seems an easy and visible way to help deal with the crisis.