I saw a story on the Today Show (aired 11/8/13), the topic is generic drugs and reactions.
The loophole they mention refers to the warning labels. It seems there are generic medications that do not have accompanying warning labels, or at least not the same detailed information as the brand named medications.
But there is one issue they forgot to include, fillers.
ALL medications have a filler of some sort. The filler helps with forming the tablet, filling the capsule, adding flavor to the liquid along with a variety of other functions. The FDA regulates that generics must have the same chemical composition. However, there is NO regulation on the fillers. The generic companies are not required to match that part of the “recipe”. Even the various generic companies don’t use the same fillers. These fillers all by themselves can have harmful side effects.
Both of my seizure meds list drowsiness as a side effect. One, when I first started taking it, was only available in the brand name. Then it went to generic. Perfect, more affordable. But I couldn’t understand just why I was feeling more tired and foggy. It was the same dosage/strength it shouldn’t change how I react. Right? I had been on the brand name for years, why would I suddenly have issues? Since I had prescription coverage at the time, my doctor had to write: dispense as written. Then when I lost my insurance and found out that my medication was $600+ for a 30 day supply I had to start looking for the most compatible generic. I finally found one, made here in the US 98% matching the brand. The drawback? Not every pharmacy carries that particular brand, and you can’t buy directly from the manufacturer. When I was started on the second medication I was told to decide which version I wanted: brand or generic. I was told by the doctor that (on this medication) the side effects are much different and to get me acclimated to the medication I had to decide which version to take.
If and when the FDA enforces warning regulations on generic medications, I hope they consider the issue of the entire chemical make up of each drug.
You should always question your doctor and/or pharmacist about your medications. Know up front what could happen. If you choose generics, ask: does the chemical make up match the brand? How closely does it match? When I started my research I also found that the generic prices ranged. Here in the US, that one that 98% matched the brand (buying via Canada) was $78/month. The generic version from India (only 75% matched) was $18/month, buying via Sam’s Club (with membership).