An observational comparative study of cost between branded medicines and generic medicines

Meenu Pichholiya, Abhijit Basu, Arvind Kumar Yadav, Nitin Kothari, Jameela Tahashildar


Background: Same drug can be sold for different prices under different brand names due to various reasons. Branded medicine is the original product that has been developed by a pharmaceutical company and generic medicine is a copy of the original branded product, marketed after the expiry date of the patent and hence supposed to be of low cost as compared to their branded versions. The objective was to compare the costs of various branded and generic medicine and to ascertain the rationality of emphasizing generic versus branded prescription.

Methods: Prices of 50 commonly used branded and generic medicines available as both branded and generic forms and in same concentration, dosage form and combination were selected and the percentage difference in the mean cost of generic and branded medicines was calculated.

Results: The mean cost of 26 generic medicines out of the selected 50 medicines was higher than their branded versions. Mean cost of 20 branded medicines was higher than generic ones, and cost of 4 medicines was approximately same. Percentage difference in the mean costs of branded and generic medicines varied from <10% to >70%.

Conclusions: Most of the drugs available in the market have brand names whether they are branded or generic medicines. Hence, doctor should write a cheapest known brand with the name of the generic salt in bracket so that the patient can buy another if that brand is not available. Furthermore, the Drug Controller of India should release a website where every doctor should be able to find the cheapest and approved drugs in the market.


Generic medicine, Branded medicine, Healthcare professionals, Pharmaceuticals and pharmacies

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