Generic Medicines

Understand generic medicines

When you go to get a prescription filled, the pharmacist might ask if your family member would like the same medicine but at a cheaper price. These are called generic medicines because the active ingredient is the same as their usual brand of medicine even though the tablet colour, shape, size and packaging may be different.

If your family member is given a generic medicine, it will still work in the same way, give the same benefits and have the same possible side effects as their usual brand. If you think your family member has been given a generic brand of their medicine instead of their usual brand of medicine, look at the medicine label and check for two names on the packet. One of these names is the brand name usually written in large print. The other name, usually written below the brand name, is the active ingredient which makes the medicine work. Check that the name of the active ingredient is the same on the generic brand as it is on your family member’s usual brand. Only the brand name will be different on the two packets.

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