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Study says heart drugs: Brand names no better than generics

Staff Report • Dec 3, 2008 at 12:00 AM

According to Medical News Today US scientists reviewing 20 years of research and expert opinion on generic versus brand name drugs in the treatment of cardiovascular diseases found no clinical evidence showing brand names were superior to generic versions even though a substantial number of experts writing editorials advised against interchanging them.

The study was the work of Dr Aaron S Kesselheim, of Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, and colleagues, and is published online in the 3rd December issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, JAMA.

When two drugs are bioequivalent it means that to all intents and purposes after they have been given to the patient they are biologically equivalent to each other, for example the composition, rate and extent to which their active ingredients are present at the target site inside the body are so similar that you can't tell the difference between them.

And yet there appears to be a general opinion among doctors and patients that despite the fact generic drugs are bioequivalent to brand name drugs, the brand names are clinically superior. But generic drugs are much cheaper, so Kesselheim and colleagues decided to investigate the available clinical evidence on generics versus brand names and the views of editorial writers on the subject with respect to cardiovascular treatments.

CLICK HERE for the full report.

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