The number of drugs available on the market is large, as well as the types in which they are classified. With that in mind, we decided to help you understand what is the difference between the main types of drugs currently sold in pharmacies and drugstores across the country: reference, generic, similar and interchangeable similar.
The reference medicine is the originator of the formula used by other laboratories years later. For it to be commercialized, its effectiveness, safety and quality must be scientifically proven to Anvisa.
Due to the research time and the money invested in them, the laboratory that develops the drug has a patent that lasts between 10 and 20 years, in addition to exclusivity in commercialization. It is estimated that the development of a new drug costs around 2.6 billion dollars – that’s why the patent expires after a period of time, so that, with the sale of the formula, part of that money invested has a return.
Regarding its packaging, it must always have a trade name (brand). For this reason, the reference medicine can also be known as a branded medicine .
The generic drug has the same active ingredient, dose, pharmaceutical form, therapeutic indication and is administered through the same route as the reference drug, but without the fancy name.
In other words, the generic must have the same efficacy, safety and quality as the reference drug, proven through studies of bioequivalence and bioavailability to Anvisa. The production of these products can only be carried out after the term of the patent for the reference drug has expired.
Because manufacturers do not need to invest money and time in all phases of clinical and non-clinical research during their development, generic drugs can be up to 35% cheaper than their originators. In addition, this type of medicine, as it cannot have a commercial name, should be marketed only with the name of its active ingredient.