Attended a discussion group (as we all have to in the annual quest for CPD points) and the topic came up about generics. The good, the bad and the simply ineffective...
An article published in Clinical Drug Investigations was very interesting. It showed that even though generic companies claim to have the exact same drug, only cheaper - this is not entirely true.
The study showed that many of the generics companies were producing inferior products with many impurities, differing concentrations of the actual compound drug and differnt bio-availabilities.
Does that therefore taint the broad spectrum of "generic" medicine? After much discussion, we believed not. Most of us were of the opinion that some generic companies are good - they control the amount of impurities and produce good quality medicine.
In South Africa, there's a lack of study or legislation enforcing clinical trials on generics, so most of the time GP's have to go on experience. I have my own list of generic companies that I will use without reservation - and then there are those that I would avoid like the plague. I wouldn't even use them to treat the plague.
Moral of the story? In South Africa I think generics need to be scripted, not substituted. As in, if the Doctor PRESCRIBES the generic by name - fine. If a pharmacist substitutes a generic because of price, stock problems or personal preference - not fine.