Even someone who has been living under a rock for the last five or so years would be aware of the confusion, misconception and questions that exist regarding generic prescription drugs, especially the largest selling online, by far, Viagra (Sildenafil Citrate) and other drugs used for the treatment of erectile dysfunction.
Some people believe much of the misinformation published by those who would have them pay ten times more for genuine drugs rather than the far cheaper generic versions. Much of the confusion and misconception exists because, understandably, many can’t see how the generic drug can be the same thing but be so cheap. Well, here is why the vast difference exists. It’s no secret, nor is it difficult to understand. It’s simply economics versus opportunism (although sometimes justified).
The following applies to all generic drugs sold through online pharmacies and in retail pharmacies on the street. There is no difference.
When the drug is first researched, discovered and developed, it takes a number of years and many, many millions (if not billions) of dollars in research, failure, more research, testing through multiple stages. Then come the trials, which have to satisfy the likes of the FDA (most countries have their own version of the FDA), which can, again, take years and more millions and even still fail for one reason or another.
Once the drug is approved by the authorities as safe (or relatively so, with the appropriate warnings…), the drug company then have to spend more millions and months marketing and promoting it to the public and the medical profession and wait for them to become confident in the product. Then comes the mass manufacture, packaging, wholesaling, and distribution etc of the tablets or whatever form the drug tales.
Interestingly, for instance, from the time the patent was taken out on Viagra in 1993 it took five years, till 1998, before it could be sold. Huge investments in money, time and resources, which the drug company (and shareholders) needed desperately to recover, hopefully in short order. Who can blame them, really? It’s a huge investment and huge risk with any new drug and some don’t end up being worthwhile.
That’s why any original drug is relatively expensive compared to it’s generic counterpart. At least for the first decade or so, while these enormous investments are being recovered. Very simple indeed.
Now for generic drugs, of which there are many. First of all, they are generally manufactured overseas because of cheaper labor and production costs and also because the patent doesn’t allow for them to be made or sold in the U.S. (if that’s where they were originally discovered and patented) except by the patent owner. They can however, be imported, in personal quantities by individuals, in most countries.