Home  |  Site Map  |  Contact Us  |  
Generic Industry Facts
Market Trends
Order Brochures
Drug Product Database
Useful Links
Shortages of Prescription



Frequently Asked Questions About Generic Drugs

Q: What's the difference between a brand name and a generic drug?
A: There are no differences as far as quality, purity, effectiveness, and safety between generic drugs and higher-priced brand name drugs. All drugs sold in Canada must be approved by the federal Therapeutics Products programme. Each product must also meet the strict regulations established by The Food and Drug Act, and both generics and brand name drugs are subjected to the same rigorous standards.

It's in the price you'll see a big difference. Generic drugs cost much less on average.

Q: What about the ingredients?
A: The active ingredient in a generic drug and branded drug must meet the same scientific norms and standards set by the Therapeutics Products programme. The excipients - or fillers - used in generic and branded medicines come from a limited range of available products and, in many cases, come from the same supplier.
Q: Will the generic drug work as well as the brand name drug?
A: You may find that the generic drug has a different name and looks a little different, but it works the same as the brand name drug you have been using. When applying to sell a generic equivalent of a brand name drug, the manufacturer must prove that the product is as safe and effective as the branded version. The manufacturer must also prove to the Provincial Ministries of Health that the active ingredients in the medicine are as pure, dissolve at the same rate, and are absorbed in the same manner as the original product.
Q: Whom do I ask about getting low cost generic drugs?
A: Ask your doctor or your pharmacist. You may already be receiving a generic drug. If not, it may be because a generic equivalent of the drug prescribed by your doctor is not yet available. These health professionals can answer questions about generic drugs.
Q: Who makes Canada's generic drugs?
A: The generic manufacturing companies are independent Canadian companies who research, develop and manufacture drugs in Canada. They employ sophisticated scientific and advanced manufacturing technology to develop products, which include generic pharmaceuticals, fine chemicals, innovative medicines, non-prescription and private label medications.
There is only one standard for drug quality in Canada. Generic products are the same quality and efficacy as branded drugs. Generic companies have sophisticated laboratories and state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities.
Availability and Affordability
Generic drugs are carried in retail pharmacies in Canada. Canadian hospitals and all provincial drug plans use them to help control skyrocketing drug costs. More than 40 percent of all prescriptions in Canada are filled with generic drugs, but a generic equivalent is not available for every brand name drug. Under the Canadian Patent Act, brand name companies have a lengthy period of patent protection to sell their products without generic competition.
Generic Drugs are:
  • Quality medicine
  • Much lower in price than brand name drugs
  • Used to fill over 40% of all prescriptions in Canada
  • Saving Canadians almost $1 billion annually and that figure is growing every year
For the Health of all Canadians
Generic drug manufacturers have helped Canadians enjoy affordable health care for more than thirty years by offering quality medicine at substantial cost savings. Skyrocketing health care costs means controlling drug prices is essential. Greater use of generic drugs is one way to save our health care system money while preserving the level of service to which we have become accustomed.
Medicines work better when used wisely
  • Listen to what your doctor and pharmacist say about taking your prescription and non-prescription drugs.
  • Do not expect to receive a prescription every time you visit your doctor. There are often simpler and less expensive ways of treating an illness.
  • Use medicines carefully. Many drugs do not mix with alcohol and other drugs. Ask your pharmacist.
  • Follow the directions on the label. Misuse of medication is harmful and can even be fatal.
  • Keep medicines out of the reach of children.
  • Do not share your prescription drugs with others. One person's cure may be another's poison!
  • Store in a cool dry area. Your bathroom's medicine cabinet is not always the best choice for drug storage.
  © 2016 Canadian Generic Pharmaceutical Association (CGPA). All Rights Reserved.
About CGPA | News | Advocacy | Resources | Code of Conduct | Contact Us | Legal Information | Privacy Policy