The impact of the over-all availability and the awareness programs being conducted by various government groups and private agencies for promoting generic medicines is empowering Filipinos especially the poor to take better care of their health and the health of the people that they love.

generic medicines

But what are Generic Medicines?

A generic name refers to the identification of drugs and medicines by their scientifically and internationally recognized active ingredients or by their official generic name as determined by the Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) of the Department of Health. An active ingredient is the chemical component responsible for the claimed therapeutic effect of the pharmaceutical product. On the other hand, a brand name is the proprietary name given by the manufacturer to distinguish its product from those of competitors.

Here are some of the Frequently Asked Questions with regards to Generic Medicines:

Are generic medicines the same as branded medicines?

Yes, generics are the therapeutic equivalent of the originator branded pharmaceutical products. They contain the same active substances and thus are interchangeable with the originator product. Generics provide the same quality, safety and efficacy as original branded medicines.

Does every branded drug have a generic equivalent?

No. When a new drug is released in the market, its manufacturer is protected by a 17- to 20-year patent which grants him the exclusive right to produce and sell it. Once the patent expires, other manufacturers can start producing the drug and sell it, provided that they get BFAD approval for this.

Are generic medicines subject to regulations and approval before they can be sold?

Yes, all medicines in the Philippines, whether branded or generic, must be registered and approved by BFAD before they can be sold on the market.

Why are generic medicines less expensive?

When a manufacturer produces a generic medicine, it basically has only its production costs to cover. It does not to pay for expensive research and development costs because the formula of the medicine is public and has been proven already since the medicine has been existing for at least 20 years already. Also, the manufacturers of generic medicines usually incurs minimal expenses for advertising and promotions. Therefore, it can sell the generic medicine cheaper than the original drug.

Are brand-name drugs made in better factories?

A pre-requisite for the approval of all medicines, whether branded or generic, is that the factories where they are manufactured must meet certain quality standards. If the factories do not meet certain standards, the BFAD will not allow them to manufacture drugs.

Do generic medicines take longer to work in the body?

No, generic drugs work in the body in the same way and in the same amount of time as branded drugs, because they have the same active ingredients.

If branded and generic drugs have the same active ingredients, why are they different in appearance and taste?

Active ingredients in branded and generic drugs are the same. But trademark laws do not allow generic drugs to have the same appearance as the branded drug. Colors, flavors and other physical characteristics do not affect the way the medicine works.

Are drugstores authorized to substitute a branded medicine by its generic equivalent?

Yes, the Generic Act of 1988 authorizes drugstores to inform buyers about other drug products having the same generic name, together with their corresponding prices, so that the buyer may adequately exercise his option to choose which medicine he wants to purchase.

My prescription contains only the branded names of the medicines. Is this normal?

No, the generic Act of 1988 requires all doctors and medical practitioners to indicate on the prescription the generic name of all medicines which they prescribe. The branded names are only optional and can be indicated in parenthesis.

Where can we buy generic medicines?

In principle, all drugstores or pharmacy outlets are allowed to sell generic drugs but there are specialized stores like GENERIKA Drugstore that prioritizes generic over branded medicines.   All generic medicines sold at Generika are duly registered with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and have been carefully selected, in terms of manufacturer and quality.


Established in 2003, Generika Drugstore has received several prestigious awards for franchising and the quality of its operations.  All their branches are air-conditioned to preserve the potency of the medicines since most medicines are sensitive to humidity and temperature.  The recommended maximum storage temperature for most medications is less than 30 degrees celsius. For more about Generika and generic medicines visit

Also read: How To Use the Generika MedPadala EGC

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