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Generic Medicines: Pet owners top 3 prescription FAQs

Q1: What are Generic medicines?

Generic equivalents of brand-name drugs:
  • Have the same active ingredients and potency, for example there are both generic and branded medications for heartworm containing the active ingredient Ivermectin.
  • Generics are usually available in the same dosage forms (tablet, liquid, or inject able) as the branded version
  • Although inactive ingredients such as fillers can be different, these ingredients should not affect the efficacy of the medicine in any way.
  • when the patent protection for a brand-name drug expires generic versions of the drug can be offered for sale
  • Generic medications have the same active ingredient, but not necessarily the same inactive ingredients
  • Generics are the same as a brand-name drug in dosage, safety, strength, administration, quality, performance and intended use. 
Approved generic medications are available for a large number of pet medicines at a fraction of the price of branded goods and will not compromise your pet’s health. Just as with human medications, buying generic can save money on the cost of your pet’s prescription medicines. On average, most generics are 50% cheaper than the branded equivalent, mostly due to competitive pricing as there are several different providers of generic equivalents.

Q2: Are the side-effects different for generic drugs?

The side effects of generic drugs are usually identical to those of the equivalent brand-name drugs and generic drugs are therefore considered to be just as safe. No generic OR branded drug is allowed onto the market unless it is proven to meet stringent safety, efficacy, and manufacturing standards. All generics are put through a rigorous multi-step approval process before they are considered brand equivalents.

Q3: Can I choose whether to use a generic medication for my pet, or is it up to my vet?

Only a licensed veterinarian, upon physical examination of your pet, can determine which drug may yield the optimal result for the condition being treated. However, unless the veterinarian stipulates that the branded medicine is medically necessary, you have the freedom to choose whether you want the brand name or the generic product – enquire with your vet during the consultation as to whether  or not a generic version of the recommended medicine exists.
It’s important to be aware that if you are obtaining a prescription from your vet for the medicine the pharmacy you buy the product from can only give you the branded medicine, if that is what your vet specifies on the prescription. If you would like to be able to consider purchasing a generic alternative, you must ask your vet to write the prescription out for the named active ingredient NOT the branded drug name.