Original Medicines

You may wonder why you’re always offered the choice of having the pharmacy preferred brand when filling a prescription. Hopefully this blog will explain the concept and dispel some rumours.

When a company invents or develops a new medication it is given two names;

  1. The name of the actual active ingredient contained in the medication
  2.  A brand name that often appears in a bright, colourful design on the packet.

The pharmacy preferred brand, or generic brand, contains the same active ingredient or chemical as the one the original company uses.

There are very strict regulations in Australia that generic medicines must work just as well as the originator brands.

Differences that occur between original and generic medicines may include:

  • Colour
  • Flavour
  • Shape
  • Size
  • Packaging
  • ‘Fillers’ – which includes all ingredients in the product except the ‘active ingredient’

Generic medications are often less expensive than original brands too, but this does not indicate that they are of a lower quality. Original brands often place a surcharge on their product to recover costs associated with development, research and marketing of the medication.

Also, choosing the generic brands allows for more medicines to be covered by the PBS ensuring affordable medications for a variety of illnesses and conditions.

Everyone is entitled to a choice and preference when selecting the brand of medication they buy. Furthermore, it is important with particular medications to not swap brands at all. So please chat to your pharmacist or GP if you have any queries or concerns with the brands you are using or taking.