I’m often asked, what’s the difference between brand and generic medications, do they work the same? The short answer is, sometimes they do and sometimes they don’t. A brand medication is a medicine created, developed and researched by a brand name pharmaceutical company like Merck or Pfizer. It spends many, many years in development and research and finally submits all of its evidence to the FDA to demonstrate that it’s safe, that it’s effective, that it does this, it does that… it’s a very stringent process. After about eighteen years, the patent runs out and then a generic drug manufacturer can copy or attempt to copy the same drug to do the same thing provided it has the same active ingredient. It has to have the same active ingredient but all of the other ingredients in the pill can be different and as a result of that, sometimes they work the same and sometimes they work differently. However, both pills, both the generic drug and the brand drug, will have the same active ingredients. But let me give you an example. For Christmas you decide to send the same beautiful belt to two friends, and you buy it from two different stores and the shipping departments in those two different stores pack it differently. One store packs it with soft, smooth packing and puts it in a water-proof cardboard box and the other company puts in sharp angular packing that’s not soft and wraps it in a very thin cardboard box. In the course of being delivered to your friends, both of these boxes get bounced around, they get rained on and so on and so forth and as a result, one of the gifts arrives in pristine condition and the other one arrives with nicks and scratches and water stains; it doesn’t always happen, but that can happen if they’re packaged differently. The same thing really applies to generic and brand medications. Again, the active ingredients are the same, however, the coloring agents may be different, the emulsifiers may be different, the fillers may be different, the preservatives may be different, and the binders which hold it all together may also be different, and there may be differences in other ingredients also. To add insult to injury, the generic medication, while it has to have the same active ingredient, doesn’t have to have the same amount. It can be anywhere between 75 to 100% of the quantity in the brand medication. Sometimes they work the same and sometimes they don’t. I for one prefer brand medications for myself.