What is a Generic Medicine?



Even if they look different, generic equivalents must still meet the same quality standards and have the same clinical effect* as the original













Local Pharmacist



A generic medicine is simply a copy of the original or ‘brand name’ medicine. It


contains the same amount of the same active ingredient, and is as safe and effective.


Why choose a Generic Medicine?


Easy – to save your money! Generic medicines have the same effect* as the


original medicine, but you pay less for them.


Are they safe?



Shouldn’t I take what my doctor ordered?


Most doctors are happy for you to save money on your medicine, and allow you the choice. If, for some reason, your doctor wants you to take a specific brand, they will make this known to the pharmacist on the prescription.


Does the original ‘brand name’ medicine work better?


No. Despite the common misconception that the brand name is going to work better, a systematic review of 38 clinical trials comparing the effect of generic and brand-name cardiovascular drugs has found no difference in the clinical effectiveness of brand name drugs and generic equivalents. Every generic



The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) meticulously tests all medicines sold in Australia to ensure they meet strict manufacturing standards, and quality and safety criteria. We have some of the highest standards in the world, and they apply regardless of where the medicine is manufactured. The same rules apply to both the original and any


generic brands.


Are they the same?


A generic medicine must be proven to:


  • Contain the same active ingredient – that is the chemical that makes the medicine work


  • Be the same strength as the original medicine


  • Reach the same blood levels of the medicine in the same timeframe as the original medicine


  • Have the same effectiveness* as the original medicine


Why do they look different?


Although they contain the same active ingredient, the ‘inactive’ ingredients – such as fillers and colours – may differ. This might make them a different shape or colour to the original medicine.



medicine undergoes stringent tests to prove it has the same effect* before your pharmacist will offer it as a substitute for you.


I have a concession card – don’t I pay the same price for all my medicines?


The government only funds the lowest priced medicine. You pay more, an extra charge called a brand price premium, if you choose to take the


original ‘brand name’ medicine.


*The same effect is assumed based on a ‘bioequivalence’ test that proves the generic medi-cine produces the same blood levels of the active ingredient after the same onset of action and stays in the body for the same duration as the original brand. Using bioequivalence as an indicator of effectiveness is internationally recognised and supported by clinical trial data.

DISCLAIMER: This material contains general information about medical conditions and treatments and is intended for educational purposes only. It does not constitute medical or professional advice, nor should it be used for the purposes of diagnosing or treating any illness. If you have or suspect you may have a health problem, you should consult your local pharmacist or health care provider to obtain professional advice relevant to your specific circumstances.