Trade, foreign policy, diplomacy and health

Generic Drugs

A generic drug is a pharmaceutical product, usually intended to be interchangeable with an innovator product, that is manufactured without a licence from the innovator company and marketed after the expiry date of the patent or other exclusive rights.

Generic drugs are marketed under a non-proprietary or approved name rather than a proprietary or brand name. Generic drugs are frequently as effective as, but much cheaper than, brand-name drugs. For example, paracetamol is a chemical ingredient found in a number of brand-name painkillers, but is also sold as a generic drug (not under a brand name). Because of their low price, generic drugs are often the only medicines that the poorest can access. The Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) agreement does not prevent governments from requiring accurate labelling or allowing generic substitution. Indeed, it is argued that competition between drug companies and generic producers has been more effective than negotiations with drug companies in reducing the cost of drugs, in particular those used to treat HIV/AIDS.

A brand name is a name given to a drug by the manufacturer. The use of the name is reserved exclusively for its owner.

Counterfeit medicine is medicine that is deliberately and fraudulently mislabelled with respect to identity and/or source. Counterfeiting can apply to both branded and generic products. Counterfeit products may include products with the correct ingredients or the wrong ingredients, lacking active ingredients, with incorrect quantities of active ingredients, or fake packaging.

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