What’s the Difference Between Generics and Brand-Name Drugs? | Association for Accessible Medicines
AAM All Access Podcast - Featuring AAM CEO Dan Leonard and Apotex President and CEO Jeff Watson

What’s the Difference Between Generics and Brand-Name Drugs?

While the pills you receive at the pharmacy counter may look slightly different from the brand, generic medicines work the same as costlier brand-name products. They have the same active ingredients, and the manufacturing and packaging must pass the same quality standards.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires generic drugs to have the same performance and quality as brand name drugs. The FDA says: “When a generic drug product is approved, it has met rigorous standards established by the FDA with respect to identity, strength, quality, purity, and potency.”

Cost is the main difference between generic and brand name prescription drugs. Unlike brand companies, generic manufacturers compete directly on price, resulting in lower prices for consumers. Generics have saved Americans $2.2 trillion over the last decade.

Further Reading

CVS, “Switching to a Generic Could Help You Save

HealthSmart, “Generic vs. Brand Medications

HuffPost, “The Truth About Generic Vs. Brand-Name Medications

Scientific American, “What's the difference between brand-name and generic prescription drugs?

WebMD, “Generic Drugs: Answers to Common Questions


Erica Klinger

By Erica Klinger, AAM Marketing Director




Learn how your generic and biosimilar industry is committed to your health.


Association for Accessible Medicines


Sign-up for Updates

Receive relevant industry news, event information and the latest resources on biosimilars and generic medicines.

Stay Connected

For the latest updates, follow us on social media.