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Generic drugs contain the same active ingredients as the branded equivalent of the original developer.

What is a generic product?

The composition and quality of generic drugs is defined and regulated by law. They contain the same quantity and quality of an active ingredient as the equivalent brand product, but carry a different name, usually the INN (international non-proprietary name). Generics are not to be confused with fake or low-quality products, since they go through the same stringent reviews by regulatory authorities as the original drug regarding the quality and composition of the products. In addition, European authorities and the Austrian system of medicine distribution through pharmacies prevent that counterfeit or substandard medicines will reach patients.

Are generics as effective as innovator products?

Innovator products and the corresponding generics contain the same active ingredients. Clinical studies have proven that the active ingredient of a generic product is distributed through the patient´s body in the same way as the ingredient of the reference product. This guarantees that generics are as effective as innovator products. Scientific EU panels, in which Austria is also well represented, ensure that the requirements for the proof of quality of generics will always correspond to the latest state of scientific knowledge. Only generics with the same efficacy and safety as the products of the initial supplier will be distributed to the market. However, a drug can only be effective if it is taken correctly by the patient. Therefore, it is important that drugs are taken as often and as long as recommended by the physician.

Is it dangerous to change from an innovator product to a generic product or vice versa?

If the physician decides to switch to a generic product, a worsening of the disease as a result of differences between two drugs with the same amount of the same active ingredient in the same formulation is unlikely. In general, any change in therapeutic success is caused by other factors.

Are generics old substances? 

Generics contain active ingredients that have been proven to be effective over time and are therefore well- established. These active ingredients have passed long-term application and are based on extensive worldwide experience. Today, no European health care system could afford to forego the use of generics.

Further information:

Reference: Hauptverband der österreichischen Sozialversicherungsträger: