New York Times analysis touts generic drugs

Times reporter challenges negative perceptions of generics among public

NEW YORK — An analysis by the New York Times published over the weekend makes the case for generic drugs.

Times reporter Katie Thomas opened the analysis Saturday by recalling an episode of the Netflix series "Orange Is the New Black," in which the prison saves money by switching inmates to generic drugs, much to their dismay. But that bit of artistic license on the part of the show's writers is evidence of the negative perceptions of generic drugs among the public.

Thomas noted that though generics are perceived as a greater value than their branded counterparts, patients mostly prefer the latter, according to some studies. But while Food and Drug Administration regulations require that generics be equivalent to and interchangeable with branded drugs — and by all accounts generic drug companies have followed those regulations — Thomas cited such issues as Ranbaxy Labs' manufacturing problems and the equivalence issues with a dosage of a generic version of GlaxoSmithKline's Wellbutrin (bupropion hydrochloride) as giving some people the idea that generics were inferior to branded drugs.

But those are isolated incidents, rather than evidence of a larger problem. Overall, as IMS Health data have shown over the years, generic drugs have saved the country's healthcare system — and consumers — about $1 trillion over the past decade.

Click here to read Thomas' analysis.

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