Sunday, November 14, 2010

Generic drugs not the same: experts

From the National Post:
As Canadian governments turn increasingly to generic drugs to try to rein in health-care costs, some researchers suggest duplicates can sometimes differ significantly from the brand-name original, potentially causing serious trouble for patients.

One Montreal psychiatrist recently documented adverse effects in patients who were switched to generic medications, and alleged that the cost savings of generics are outweighed in certain cases by the dangerous impact on users.

"I've seen it enough times to know it's a real phenomenon," said Dr. Howard Margolese. "It's sort of another element a physician has to consider if he has a patient who does well, and starts to relapse. ... There needs to be a little more caution and there needs to be a whole lot more study done before a generic is deemed to be equivalent."

Other experts, Health Canada and the generic industry, however, say there is no reliable evidence that the copies are problematic, with some arguing that the skepticism is being fuelled by a brandname sector worried about its bottom line. /...more

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