Most people recognize prescription drugs only by the brand names they see in advertisements each day. However, did you know that approximately 75% of the medications taken in the United States every year are generic?
And, with increasing pressure by insurance companies and changing healthcare laws, more and more people could be forced to switch from brand name meds to cheaper generics.
Each year, many of the popular brand name drugs we trust lose their patent protection and are forced off the market by cheaper generic copies. This year, nine such drugs will face generic replacements.
What’s wrong with generic drugs? In a nutshell, they may have a different chemical makeup and leave patients with no legal rights in the case of injury.
While generic drugs must use the same active ingredients as their brand name counterparts, they often contain different inactive ingredients, which make up over 90% of the pill. This can cause reactions for patients used to different brand name ingredients.
Second, and most importantly, patients taking generic drugs have little to no legal rights if they are injured. A recent Supreme Court decision ruled that, while patients can file lawsuits against name brand manufacturers for failing to warn of dangerous side effects, thay can’t do the same against generic companies due to FDA labeling restrictions.
Congress is working to remedy this law, however, in the meantime, if you suffer a serious side effect while taking a generic drug, you have far fewer legal rights than if you were taking a name brand version.
With that in mind, here are ten drugs that have or will go generic this year due to an expiring patent. If you are taking one of these, contact your doctor or insurance company to see if you can continue using the original instead of a copy.
Source: Staton, T. Top 10 Drug Patent Losses of 2014. FiercePharma (October 28, 2013). Retrieved from http://www.fiercepharma.com/special-reports/top-10-drug-patent-losses-2014
Last summer, the Department of Justice unveiled the details of an ongoing lawsuit and resulting settlement against industrial giant 3M, claiming the company had furnished defective combat earplugs to millions of U.S. troops serving around the world.