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Generic Medicine versus Brand-name Drugs

Same Quality

as brand-name drugs

All drugs (brand-name and generic) are reviewed and authorized for sale by Health Canada before they are available for prescription. A generic drug is designed to work the same way in the body as the original brand-name drug.

Same Active Ingredients

as brand-name drugs

Generic drugs have the same active ingredient (the chemical that makes the drug work) and that means they work the same way in the body as the brand-name drug. Generic drugs must also have the same amount of active ingredient in the prescription.

The non-medicinal ingredients, such as fillers and preservatives, may be different from brand-name products, but they are also regulated and subject to the same review process.

Same Manufacturing Standards

as brand-name drugs

To receive a license to manufacture and sell drugs in Canada, both brand-name companies and generic drug companies must follow the same good manufacturing practices (GMP) guidelines, which ensure consistent production and quality standards.

Same Safety & Efficacy

as brand-name drugs

When a generic prescription drug has been reviewed and authorized for sale by Health Canada, it means the medicine is as safe and effective as the original brand-name drug and works the same way in the body.

Average Price

per prescription in 2014*

Generic vs Name Brand

Source: IMS Health Brogan
Average retail price is based on total price of prescriptions (price of drug plus any mark-ups and professional dispensing fees) divided by estimated prescriptions dispensed in Canadian retail pharmacies (excludes hospitals; includes retail new and refills).

One Million Sold per Day

In Canada more than six hundred million prescriptions are filled every year. More than two-thirds of all prescriptions are dispensed with generic medicines. That means that everyday more than one million prescriptions are filled using generic medicines.

Why Should I care about price?

I'm covered by my drug plan.

Drug plans are benefits to keep you and your family healthy. Generic medicines are priced less than brand-name drugs and can contribute to an affordable and sustainable drug plan for you and your family.

Ask your doctor or pharmacist if there is a generic equivalent available for your prescription needs.

For more information regarding the quality, safety and efficacy of generic drugs, please visit the Canadian Agency for Drug Technologies in Health (CADTH) website:
CADTH is an independent agency funded by Canada’s federal, provincial and territorial governments.
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Generics VS Brand What's the Difference
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