What is a generic medicine?

Article By: Medinformer

Explains the difference between a “generic” and a “clone”

A generic medicine is produced by a generic company once the patent on the originator drug has expired


  • Contains the same active ingredients as the originator medicine but inactive ingredients may vary
  • Made by a different company to the originator company
  • Identical in strength, dosage form, and route of administration
  • Is used for the same purpose and tested to be equally effective1


  • A clone is an exact duplicate of the originator drug with the same active and inactive ingredients
  • Is manufactured by the originator company under a different proprietary name
  • Does not have to wait for the originator drug patent to expire
  • In many instances, the product is produced on the same production line as the originator but marketed at a lower price4

Why are generic medicines more affordable than the originator?

Generic medicines work in the same way in the body and are associated with the same benefits of the original medicine. They do not, however, need lengthy clinical evaluation as the originator drug company has performed all the clinical trials necessary to approve the drug. The price of a generic is therefore usually much lower than that of the originator.1,2,3

What kind of quality control is required?

Before a generic drug can be approved for use, the generic company must show that the drug has the same therapeutic effect as the originator drug.1,2

What is generic substitution?

A pharmacist or a doctor has an obligation to inform patients of generic medicine options if one exists.3

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